“There is an active shooter a few blocks from the church.” That was a pastoral first for me. We’ve experienced a few minor emergencies in the last five years, but nothing on that level. Prayerfully, it’s a pastoral last, too.
Reflecting back, I feel both very grateful and a little unsettled. I am grateful for Bruce, the HPD officer who watches over us each Sunday. He immediately took command, guiding us with the expertise and confidence we desire from those who protect our city. I am grateful for our staff and elders whose first instinct was to secure our children and then stood guard at every entrance until every exterior door was locked. I am grateful for a church who responded with prayer, courage, and peace.
But I am also a little unsettled. We know these things happen, but they are usually around the corner from someone else. I am unsettled because we don’t have clear answers for our questions. I am unsettled because this was our neighborhood and these are our neighbors who are hurting.
David, the psalmist, sang these words on the day he was grateful to have escaped the clutches of King Saul: “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1)
In days like these we remember the Lord is a better fortress than fortified doors. The Lord is a more secure refuge than even the safest of neighborhoods. So, David says, “I called to the Lord…” Let’s call to him as well and ask him to settle our unsettled hearts.
On a practical note, if you are looking for a way to address this kind of tragedy with your children, Bayou City Fellowship member, Dr. Ann Caballero, has written a very helpful article. You can access it at https://oakgrovepa.com/2016/05/31/helping-kids-cope-when-the-unthinkable-happens/.
Also, Memorial Drive United Methodist church is having a Community Hope and Healing service tomorrow night, June 2. Go to http://www.mdumc.org for more information.
Praying for our hearts and our city,