Valley of the Shadow

This afternoon about 15 minutes from our church in Rhinebeck, NY, a man armed with a machine gun and mindlessness strolled into Best Buy at the Hudson Valley Mall and began shooting indiscriminately into the crow. Early reports say that noone was killed-God be praised. Several people in our church had been at the mall when the gunshots began. The nephew of the man in the pew behind me helped tackled on of the gunman. Interestingly enough, the pastor spoke from Psalms 88:

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I do not think it was a mistake the psalms that follows:

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

After the initial shock of the news, I began to feel a great burning anger. Not so much at the man who sprayed the mall with bullets as the worldview that encourages him stupidly and then stares slack-jaw at its pupil.

I was tempted to call this senseless violence-force of habit, but it was not senseless. A world without God is a frightening place indeed, and “freedom” from right and wrong bring terrific, but perfectly sensible, horror. Throw away the Creator, blot out Truth, and tremble at the directionless hopelessness that remains in its wake, and tremble even more at the actions committed by those who have fallen prey to this abomination.

These actions, as sobering and serious as they seem, are merely the necessary outworking of a philosophy that devalues human life, and prehaps more tragically, absolute truth. Is the gunman who pulls the trigger more to blame than the philosopher who justifies it in his essays? We reard professors who preach moral relativism with unquestioned tenure and the fools who put it into practice with jail time.

There will be no quenching of this fire, no soothing of this hurt, no stopping of this plague until truth is restored and hearts are reconciled with God. Every other attempth is simply seasoning the rotten. And we expect a pleasant aroma?