…Thirteen and a half years ago

I’m in a state of mournful stupor right now at the news.

…It was thirteen and a half years ago, when I was a freshman in high school. I still remember feeling shocked in the news. I remember the news piercing through my american numbness to tragedy because it happened at a high school, where I was at. I remember hearing stories of students being asked at gunpoint if they believed in God, and dying for their faith.

I remember it galvanized me. It made me face reality. I’m not sure if I liked that it made me fall into a narrative of fear that “it could happen HERE”. But what it did was that it made me realize that mission couldn’t wait until after I was done with my education. People needed God where I was in the present, not later. I knew my God was the answer to this brokenness that Columbine exposed.

… Thirteen and a half years later, I find myself working with youth, working for the transformation of culture. I equip them with a sense of urgency not to wait, that mission starts where they are at, not after they are done with college…, that life and death transformation doesn’t wait, it starts now.

But honestly, I find myself, thirteen and a half years later with more questions than answers. Why did it have to end with death? Why youth? Why an elementary school? I’ve seen it happen at other high schools, at college campuses, on the street in Florida. I’ve seen broken anger and frustration with society on all levels that somehow leads to death. I even see it in students. And some of them experience the transformation of the Gospel…

… and in the end, I know that the Gospel is the answer.  But there is a dissatisfaction that has grown in me, groaning within me-  A desire for the fulfillment of the gospel of peace that I proclaim as coming… I wish it would just hurry up and come. I know that we say it’s “Here, but not yet”, but sometimes it just feels “not yet”.  I wish it wasn’t so slow. I wish He would just put an end to violence now.

It’s appropriate, I suppose, that this comes in the season of advent. It’s a season in which we wait and expect for the His return. I’ve been exploring the different views of eschatology and the 2nd coming lately in seminary… but honestly all those theories that scholars and Christians who want to sound smart sound so trite. In the end, we desperately need Yahweh to come and return- the One who calls himself “Emmanuel” -“God with us”- to truly return and be with us. O come, O come, Emmanuel…

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


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