*** Below is a statement I drafted that was signed and submitted to our church.
Veritas City Church,
It is with a heavy heart that your pastors issue this statement on behalf of our church:
With each passing tragedy, let it not be so that our hearts grow immune to the evil that exists in the world today. Yesterday, on October 27th, a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing 11 congregants while injuring 4 police officers and 2 others. With broken hearts, we pray for and mourn with the people, families and communities that were affected by this unspeakable evil.
As details emerge, it has become apparent that this act of hatred was committed against these congregants on the basis of their religious beliefs. Despite what might separate us in belief, we denounce the horrific act of murdering another (Exodus 20:13), but furthermore denounce the heart that would have hatred for another (Matthew 5:22) that might lead to such a fundamental disregard for human life. We readily affirm the sanctity of life (Jeremiah 1:5, Genesis 9:6, Psalm 139:13-16, Job 12:10) and the dignity that belongs to all people, having been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; James 3:9-10).
We would like to echo the statement given by Gov. Tom Wolf of PA in saying that “we simply cannot accept this violence as a normal part of American life”. We would say as believers, furthermore, that we of all people cannot accept this violence as a normal part of life, itself. Sin has wholly corrupted a creation which was once only good (Genesis 3:16-19), meaning all people are broken by sin (Romans 5:12) and participate in the subversion to and outright rebellion from God (Romans 1:18-32; 5:10). It is because of this sin nature that some will be driven to ugly and heinous acts of violence such as these. This is an evil that no amount of armed guards, legislation nor regulation can ultimately resolve; rather, our ultimate hope can only be found in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:17). Therefore, let us cling to the One who sovereignly rules over it all (Psalm 95:4) and gives peace that surpasses present circumstances (Philippians 4:7). Christians, our hearts ought to be burdened (Romans 8:22). Let this burden drive us further to Christ as we bear the pain of our neighbors.
With each passing tragedy, let it not be so that our hearts grow immune to the evil that exists in the world today. Instead, let us abound only in the hope of Christ Jesus (Romans 15:13) as we grow in ever-increasing discontentment, looking ahead to that Glorious Day when sin and death will be no more (Revelation 20:14).
For now, we mourn, yet we mourn with the hope that we will one day mourn no more.