Two men dead, five lives lost, at least three communities struggling to make sense of it all. Earlier this week, a man who worships at St. Martin's came up to me and said, "Susanna, I've served in the Mexican army. I've seen a lot. I've never seen anything like this. Two men. They were sleeping, Susanna. Such violence. Children did this." He shook his head and stood there in silence--the horror sinking in.
The people we worship with the second Sunday of even-numbered months--the people of St. Martin's--are not new to violence. Random acts of violence are part of their lives. They learn to protect themselves as best they can, but still violence stalks their days. In the last six months, one member of our community was shot by police, another run over and killed, two more hit and killed by hit-and-run drivers.
But these deaths are different--they strike at the core of our shared humanity. Try as we do, we can't make sense of it. Children smashing the heads of people asleep on a mattress in a back corner of a vacant lot.
It's senseless. And perhaps even trying to make sense of it is like jousting with windmills.
But we can make meaning out of this tragedy. Maybe a little of that was going on today as people gathered on that empty lot. Lives honored, deaths mourned, commitments made. You and I and the part of the Body of Christ we call Live at Five can be part of that effort to give meaning to these senseless deaths.
In one of the last parables in the Gospel of Matthew, the King says to the person standing before him, "As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me"(25:40). In the face of senseless violence, we can live lives of connectedness--connectedness to one another and connectedness to those who share this time and this place with us. A connectedness that just won't let one of our brothers or sisters go hungry or sleep in a place that is not safe. A connectedness that cares as much about other people's children as we do about our own. A connectedness born out of the realization that weare brothers and sisters for we are all children of one God.