Dealing with Fear

Dear St. Timothy’s,
Yesterday morning, at 2am, I awoke to the sound of a text from Littleton Public Schools notifying parents that the school system, along with many others throughout the Denver metro area, would be closed due to safety concerns caused by one person infatuated with a shooting that happened 20 years ago in our community. This moment has played out thousands of times for families across our metro area—and likely happened to you. By now, we all have likely heard the sad ending to these events. Of course, the hardest part of this was not the last minute childcare needs or shifts in the workday; neither was the biggest challenge the continued work we all must do of having painful, confusing, and scary conversations with our children and loved ones about the real threat of gun violence in sacred spaces like our schools. Instead, the hardest part of yesterday, was the continued trauma we experience from our culture of gun violence and our sense of helplessness to make a change in our society. For me, as a priest and pastor, this is not first about what politicians should or shouldn’t do; instead, I am most concerned about our people, our community, and the culture in which we live and shape. As Christians, we do well to remind ourselves that the gospel of Jesus Christ is both prisoner and liberator of culture. The gospel of Jesus is prisoner of culture to the extent that it is rooted in a historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, and a specific time and place with its own cultural assumptions and expectations. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is also liberator of culture to the degree that it challenges, questions, unsettles, and frees people into the kingdom and the liberating love of God. This week, as we remember the final days of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth, we would be wise to notice the ways that Jesus not only challenges our assumptions and our culture, but also is put to death by it, by us, by our ways. The only thing stronger than the death-dealing ways of our world is the power of the living God. On this we stake our lives. And friends, as we experienced once again the scourge and threat of gun violence in our community, I am praying for a good, healthy, and unsettling dose of God’s power in our lives. For one promise that is made clear in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that things can change. And they will through the power of God.
I anxiously look forward to being with you during this Holy Week and together, on Sunday, celebrate the promises of Easter.
God bless you and keep you,