Hug your children! That was the advice given Sunday, Dec. 16, by the Rev. Nick Needham to those who attended services at Calvary United Methodist Church in Walcott (Iowa).
My wife Sherry and I normally go to church in Davenport. But we went to the Walcott church so we could see our grandchildren, Harrison and Marin, play the parts of Joseph and Mary, respectively, in a Christmas program directed by Robyn Stender, one of the most enthusiastic and upbeat people you’ll ever run across.
As I watched all of the Calvary kids portraying how children around the world celebrate Christmas, I couldn’t help but remember all of the kindergarteners in Newtown, Conn., who won’t be celebrating Christmas or their next birthday, high school graduation or anything else because their lives were cut short by the senseless act of a madman.
“Don’t ask me why it happened,” Needham told his congregation. “because I don’t have an answer.”
Some people, he continued, are asking where God was when the shooting took place. Needham said God was standing beside each victim.
Since Friday there’s been lots of discussion both pro and con about guns. People on both sides of that issue make good points. But the fact is, troubled people intent on doing evil will finds ways to do it with or without access to firearms.
My wife and I were reminded of that all too well in October when we visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, a tribute to the 168 people, including 19 young children, who died because Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building there on April 19, 1995.
A friend of mine, in as essay posted on his Facebook page, writes that we can blame a variety of causes — including guns, poor parenting, the Internet, the media, drugs, courts, a lack of prayer in schools, a lack of ethics — for these mass killings. But the bottom line, he writes, is we live in an evil world.
True. But the problem is spotting evil and dealing with it before innocent people have to die.
Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece submitted as a column to The North Scott Press.