After Fitness Center Shootings, Let Us Pray!
Last night in Bridgeville, a man found his way into an aerobics class and began shooting. Before killing himself, he left three dead, 10 physically injured and countless others emotionally scarred for life. Two of the dead are from our United Methodist family here in Western Pennsylvania.
There are families today who are grieving and many more people wondering why such senseless acts of violence take place. Today there is not only emptiness among those who have lost loved ones and friends, but also among those who want to help but don’t know how.
That’s where being a part of the family of God is such an asset. We stand on a foundation of belief that tells us that although we stand in the valley of the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear, for God is with us. We sit on the rock of a faith. We believe that even death cannot separate us from the love God has for us. Jesus himself promised to go and prepare a place for us – a place where there is no fear of random shooting and violent death. Today, we kneel in prayer, believing that our petitions are not made aimlessly into the clouds, but fully registered in the loving presence of a God who can do all things to strengthen and restore broken lives.
The logical question today is, “What can I do to help?” The best answer I can give is to pray. Pray for Heidi Overmier and Jody Billingsley and their families. Pray for the congregations at Bridgeville and Sugarcreek who will be ministering to them. Pray for the Revs. John King and Josephine Whitely-Fields as they minister to their people. Pray for the family and friends of Elizabeth Gannon, for those who were hospitalized, and the scores of others who have been traumatized by this tragedy. Pray for George Sodini’s family and friends as they deal with the inevitable confusion and humiliation they feel.
Last night’s act of violence caused a wave of concern. What can we do?
Let us pray.
The Journey Continues, . . .
Thomas J. Bickerton