I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.
Throughout this past week much of our national attention was directed to the assassination attempt on Arizona Congresswomen, Gabrielle Giffords, and the subsequent injuries and loss of life of others in the crowd assembled with her. Senseless acts of violence like this one are not as rare as we would hope. These horrendous acts of evil strike at the most normal of times and places like the workplaces, schools and in this case a grocery store. They remind us that evil is ever present and that no one of us is safe from the pain it inflicts. It is also in moments like this that we find ourselves crying out to God as the psalmist does today, seeking to find him in the midst of sorrow.
Tragic acts of evil also leave us searching for a reason or a place to direct blame. While I do not agree that vitriolic political discourse is the cause of this evil act, I think this violent act awakens us to a greater awareness of the disregard that we can have for the lives of others. Because we live in a culture of objectification, we often do not recognize, “the other” as one who is made in the image and likeness of God. It is, therefore, easier for us to vilify, tear down, verbally attack and commit acts of violence. It has become too common for us to not simply disagree with each other, but instead, we rain down on an opponent with unfathomable anger and outrage. We do not recognize the person who presents us with a difficulty as someone else’s spouse or child and therefore speak or act toward them in ways we would never accept if directed toward our loved ones.
In one week’s time the annual March for Life in Washington will take place. I truly believe that our failure to value the sacred life of the unborn is at the root of all other violence, hate speech and attacks on human life. We march next week to bring about an end to abortion, to witness to the sacredness of human life and to pray that the command to love one another as we have been loved by Christ will be fulfilled so his love may conquer all acts and words of violence, hate and evil.