Letter: Prayers of solace, solidarity and support for victims of Las Vegas shooting
Once again, a peaceful morning is shattered by heartbreaking breaking news. Once again, it’s not the news that breaks, but we who receive it. Once again, innocent citizens are executed, wounded and terrorized for reasons beyond human comprehension. Once again, we are starkly and tragically reminded, in the words of our baptismal service, of the evil that corrupts and destroys the creatures of God.
This evil cannot and can never be explained through theological, philosophical or political position. This evil is truly a blasphemy, an assault against the very nature of God’s unconditional love poured out through Jesus Christ to the entire world. We Christians must be clear that God’s love triumphs over every force seeking to obstruct or obliterate it, but so tragically today, we must also acknowledge without flinching that evil’s pernicious destructive power inflicts casualties as we journey toward God’s highest and best world.
Please join me, yet again, in offering prayers of solace, solidarity and support for those individuals and families so victimized by this shooter’s insane rampage of rage. Please join me in prayers of gratitude and respect for our courageous first responders who now must wear military armor as protection as they serve. As difficult as it may sound, please also join me in praying for the soul of the shooter as Jesus explicitly instructed us to do; this supernatural darkness seeks to end all human life, even the life that enacted it.
And finally, please help anyone you may know directly or relationally connected to this tragedy to get the professional and pastoral support they need. We have strong partnerships with several local mental health and counseling resources that we trust without reservation. Myself, our staff and newly commissioned pastoral care team members also stand ready to walk with anyone needing personal support as a result of this tragedy, so please do not hesitate to call upon us at any time.
As my daughter and her friends often say to each other as they leave each other, “Love you!” On this day of national tragedy, please know how much you are beloved of God and also well loved by all of us at Transfiguration. May God’s love push back the darkness today.
Warmly in the Lord,
Father Brooks Keith
Rector, The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Vail Valley