Synod President Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick issued a statement of comfort and hope to the families and friends of the 14 people killed and the 47 wounded during last week’s shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and a construction-engineering firm in Orlando, Fla.
Kieschnick’s entire Nov. 7 statement is as follows:
As we learn more details of the horrific shootings in recent days at Fort Hood, Texas, and an Orlando construction-engineering firm, we offer our deepest sympathies to, and sincerest prayers for, the families and friends of the victims.
At Fort Hood, the four Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod chaplains who serve on the base — along with the entire chaplain corps — were called in immediately to minister to the victims’ loved ones and the almost 42,000 troops and their family members stationed there. We pray God’s blessing on the effectiveness of the chaplains’ ministry of consolation and assurance and on the outreach of all other caregivers involved.
These terrible events (and there have been others: Columbine, Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois universities, the Amish school shootings, and so many more) make us wonder what kind of world we are living in when innocent people are killed or wounded because of another person’s murderous thoughts and actions. It is hard for us to understand when it all seems so senseless.
Many questions will continue to surround these events in coming days as details unfold. What could have prompted such outrageous actions? Why did so many have to die? Some may even ask, ‘Where was God?’ when these tragedies occurred. Such heart-wrenching queries remind us of the broken and fallen world in which we live, where evil still has its day as the “devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The only answer to these questions that makes sense is the life-giving message of the Bible, which tells us that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has destroyed the power of sin, death, and the devil. He alone offers the comfort and healing that can fill the emptiness of lives left vacant by the sadness and sorrow in the tragic deaths of soldiers, office workers, family members, and friends.
In even the most terrible of circumstances, we have hope, for God is there “reconciling the world unto himself in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19). With sure confidence, then, we look forward to the day we will be with Him, forever in heaven, where, in the words of the first reading from last Sunday’s All Saints Day, the Lamb will guide us “to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes” (Rev. 7:17).
Posted Nov. 11, 2009