March 10: Is there healing for our deepest hurts?

Posted on : Mar 7th, 2013 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Almost three months ago, Dec. 14, 2012 to be exact, we, the people of America, experienced one of the most horrific tragedies when Adam Lanza,  a mentally ill young man, open fire on first graders, teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  The incident was so violent and gruesome it left us as a nation feeling stunned and sick to our stomach.  So great was the impact that retail sales actually fell in what is normally one of the busiest shopping periods – two weeks before Christmas.  For us in the Christian tradition, the joy of Christmas was darkened by the tragedy that befell us as a nation.  The massacre happened on a Friday.  The impact was so immediate and so strong, that just about every Rabbi, Imam, Clergyperson or religious leader had to change their sermon for the weekend’s religious observances.  That kind of response from the religious community only happens at times of national disaster or crisis.  The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary became a national crisis.

It’s difficult to name exactly what was different about this massacre from the many others we have experienced in a relatively short time span.  Perhaps it was that so many of those who were massacred were 6-7 year old children.  Slowly there emerged the vibrant faces of beautiful, innocent children who were adorable and filled with energy and love.  And in contrast to the images of these energized, loving young children who had died there emerged the faces of grief-stricken parents going through indescribable agony and pain.  Twenty children and 6 incredibly loved adult staff members, all women, died in this incident – as well as one other woman whose death is hardly mentioned, Adam’s own mother whom it appears he shot and killed while she was still sleeping.  And of course Adam killed himself, too.

This tragedy was like a hard punch to our stomach.  It took our breath away and made us sick.  A few weeks after the children and staff’s funeral and memorial services, the community of Newtown, CT had another challenge of epic proportion.  They had to begin the conversation regarding what to do with “the school.”  Fortunately about seven miles away there was a school in a neighboring town that had been closed.  The community came together with remarkable speed and renovated, painted and transferred every child’s belongings from Sandy Hook to the new school.  But the challenge remains:  “What should be done with Sandy Hook Elementary School?”

As parents and community members expressed their views in answer to that question, I realized that in many ways each of us faces that same question in our lives.  What do we do with the “Sandy Hook Elementary Schools” in our lives?  Is there a way to make the desecrated holy once again?  Is there healing for our deepest hurts?

As we continue our Lenten journey we will explore that reality on Sunday.  What do we do with the “Sandy Hook Elementary Schools” in our lives?  Is there a way to make the desecrated holy once again?  Is there healing for our deepest hurts?  Let’s see.

Lenten Blessings,


~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Isaiah 35: 1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon and the majesty of Carmel and Sharon
shall be bestowed upon it.
They shall see the glory and majesty of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
Steady all trembling knees.
Say to all those of faint heart: “Take courage!  Do not be afraid!”
Look, God is coming, vindication is coming,
The recompense of God is coming –
God is coming to save you!

Then shall blind eyes see,
and deaf ears will hear;
then those who cannot walk shall run and leap like a deer,
and silenced tongues will sing for joy.
Waters will break forth in the wilderness,
and there will be streams in the desert;
the dry sand shall become a pool,
and the parched earth shall become like springs of water;
the desolate place where jackals used to dwell shall become a swamp filled with thickets and reeds.

And through it will run a highway, a road called the Sacred Path.
The unclean may not travel by it,
But it will be for God’s people alone;
And no traveler – not even fools – will get lost or go astray.
No lions will be there, nor will any fierce beasts roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there – those whom God has ransomed will return.
They shall enter Zion shouting for JOY, with everlasting JOY on their faces;
JOY and gladness will go with them, and sorrow and lament will flee away.

Luke 14: 41-48

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.

As Jesus came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!  But now, at this time, they are hidden from your eyes.

Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up artillery around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side.  They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Then Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said,

“It is written,
My house shall be a house of prayer;
but you have made it a den of robbers.”

Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

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