A Note From Chris - October 28, 2022

I was horrified earlier this week to hear of yet another school shooting, this one in
nearby St. Louis, where two folks lost their lives, others were injured, and many were
scarred for life. I was almost just as horrified when I was recalling a detail from a
different school shooting, and couldn’t recall which one I was thinking of because we
have had so many in recent years. Lord help us when our children are regularly turning
to killing each other as a solution to their pain.

One of our local partners, Lucas Rouggly with Love the Lou, shared with his supporting
churches that some of the students connected to their ministry attend the school where
the shooting occurred, and one student watched as a classmate was shot and died in
front of him. Even worse, Rouggly reported that unfortunately this is not considered
abnormal, but normal to many of his students in north city St. Louis. Violence is part of
their way of life. While that may not be as normalized for many of our Cornerstone
students, times have certainly changed. Now, prior to evacuating the school for a fire
alarm, many schools hold the students in the building while security does a sweep of
the property to look for shooters. They hold students in a potentially burning building to
navigate the potential of a serious threat. One minute, students are learning Spanish or
studying Algebra; the next, they are ducking and running into a designated space as
part of an intruder drill. What a broken world we live in.

While it is easy to grieve the negative trajectory our country has taken in this way, I was
reminded recently that some versions of this brokenness have been a part of our lives
for decades. One 60+ year old person shared on social media the other day, “I wish
schools could go back to the good ‘ol days when we were just ducking under our desks
trying to avoid nuclear disasters.” The tongue in cheek post does remind us that while
we can easily point to some shifts that are quite negative, brokenness is nothing new.
Lashing out against, harming, and even killing others has been around for the entire
history of humanity. And yet, the people of God are called to bring a different way of
living into this world. We are called to show love in the face of hate, grace in the face of
terror, and kindness in the face of malice.

Today, would you take a moment and pray for a few groups of people specifically?

1. The students, staff, and families of Central Visual and Performing Arts High
School in St. Louis. While they navigate the horror of this situation, let’s cover
them in prayer. Pray specifically for Orlando Harris’ (shooter) family, who is
facing a unique horror through this tragedy.

2. Cornerstone students – It really is harder in many ways to be a kid these days.
With idle threats being sent in to multiple local schools on the heels of the recent
shooting, some of our students are scared and confused.

3. Educators and Administration – We have many of both in our church, and we live
in communities where people sign up to teach kids to help them learn. Today,
they also must navigate their own fear in just going to work.

4. Parents – Parents everywhere have tough jobs. Please pray for those who are
walking with adolescent students as they face the many challenges they must
face in today’s world.

Despite the challenges, the hope of Jesus only gets brighter and more attractive. As
Ephesians says, “He himself is our peace.” Let’s hold on to Jesus as we walk this road
and live out the joys he has set before us together in Christ.

Yours and His,
Chris VandeLinde

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