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Mourning with VT

The day David, I and 23,000 others ran the Boston Marathon, Cho Seung-Hui shot and killed 33 Virginia Tech students and faculty and then turned a gun on himself. The victims were of different races, ages and from several different countries. They represented the hope we share as Americans.

President Bush said on Tuesday, "They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time." I would rather say, "They were in the right place at the wrong time." Those killed, beginning with Emily Hilscher, were where they were supposed to be: in a dorm room or classroom pursuing or guiding others in higher education, which would potentially result in jobs and a better way of life for them all. They were doing the right thing in the right place at the right time according to our cultural values. The only one in the wrong place and the wrong time was Seung-Hui, and that is where the struggle arises for us all.

"How can a disturbed student like Seung-Hui stay in school, get a gun and freely gun down those he had decided were not worthy of life?" The atheists shout that this proves once again a loving God in control of the universe could not exist or stuff like this would not happen. The psychologists point to his troubled mind and lack of nurture. The psycho biologists wonder what chemical reaction could lead to such an act. Some point to the fact we can get guns too easily. Others are drawing up briefs as I write to get retribution from the university for its inability to halt the slaughter. Yes, even some Christians, will allow this to be "God's will," and sleep calmly because God mysteriously had a hand in this and it is beyond their comprehension so they will go to church in the morning and take a nap in the afternoon and get on with their lives on Monday.

There are two things we will never fully comprehend: the evil we can dish out to each other and the way God allows us to choose to love Him or not. Evil exists. Sin exists, and Cho Seung-Hui's actions prove it. Humans are capable of performing the greatest acts of self-sacrifice to serve others, and we have the capacity to perform the most unspeakable horrors on each other. As much as moral evolutionists wish we are getting better, the human condition is the same since Adam and Eve rebelled against our Creator. (See Genesis 3.) We will never fully understand the impact of our fallen state on our lives and others.

And, yet, God has left it to us to accept His love offered us in His Son, Jesus, or to turn our backs on Him to live our own lives. God is in control of His-story. God has entered time and space and made it possible for all to respond in faith to His ultimate act of love: the sacrifice of His Son for our deserved sentence of death brought on by our willful acts of evil and self-centered attacks on others and God. While we were filled with horror-able acts toward others, Christ died for us to set us free from the control of evil and to make it possible for us to be people who bring the Peace of Christ, not pain, into the lives of others.

My prayer is that those who were directly touched by this horrific act will embrace the love, hope and forgiveness God offers us all in Christ Jesus. That is not wishful thinking by a Pastor. That is an honest, heart-felt prayer from one who is a member of the same human race as Seung-Hui and those he killed and one whom God has forgiven through His Son, Jesus.