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Tragedy of the Murder of 5 Students in Calgary

The murder of 5 people yesterday was a tragedy which seems completely senseless. I hope we can all focus on the event and the pain and loss it causes, and the assurance that God is with us in that pain. Like the disappearance of the Malaysian flight last month, we may never know why it happened, but we can work for healing for all the people, especially the six pairs of parents, who have had their lives ripped apart by that event. It is important to not let that event, or any event, be given the power to control what we do or believe.

May God’s grace and love be made real for everyone involved.

Like other surprising tragedies in the past, there is a danger of becoming extremely self-centred, asking “Why me?” “Why us?” Good and bad, awesome and horrendous events happen — random acts of kindness, rock chips in our windshields, 500 homeless families assisted into living in their own homes,students killed when a truck runs head on into a bus. It is very challenging to be empathetic — being there for the people who are personally experiencing the loss, people for whom it will probably take up the whole of their awareness for a while — without being sympathetic — making their loss our loss. I feel very sad for everyone involved, but my life has not been torn apart by that event or other events, and I believe it comes close to violating their dignity and experience if I try to claim it as my experience or to wallow in emotion as though it was someone I knew well and loved much who had died or had committed this terrible act. If these young people had died in a traffic accident, it would barely be newsworthy. IF they were among those who died of the flu or of cancer, they would not have made the news. It was the bizarre and terrifying way in which they died that shocks us, and only because they are close enough to us for it to matter to us.

Thousands of people are being brutally murdered every day around the world by military people, thugs, police officers, husbands, fathers, others. Violence is part of the human condition.

I hope enough people will be touched by this tragedy enough to support efforts to reduce violence in this world, either locally or globally. May God help us feel more closely connected to each other so we are more willing to sacrificially work for the well-being of everyone. May love be increasingly a part of who we are and what we do.

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