Thursday, September 13, 2007

reflections on dawson

exactly a year ago today, an angry, alienated young man entered dawson college in downtown montreal and started shooting. before the gunman took his own life, 20 were injured and one student was dead. it was a grim reminder that evil is real, that life is fragile, and that security cannot be guaranteed by human effort.

it was a horrible day. many students escaped and ran from the campus in all directions , spreading terrifying, confusing, and sometimes contradictory accounts of what was happening. some of them ran down to our girls' high school, just blocks away; the school was immediately locked down as a result. the cell phone network was overloaded, so it was impossible to know if loved ones were safe or trapped, dead or alive. downtown was completely shutdown and the area blocked off. students had a hard time getting home, as the chaos wreaked havoc with the public transportation system.

the incident was similar enough to a previous school shooting rampage in montreal to evoke the pain, fear, and anger of that experience all over again. and it raised the same difficult questions for those who believe in God: can God really be good if he doesn't stop evil? or is he not able to stop it?

oh that my head were waters
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that i might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
jeremiah 9:1

and yet in the midst of the horror and carnage, events here and there revealed the best in humanity. one young man risked his own life to confront the shooter and intercede for the life of a young woman who had been shot and eventually died. a mother physically covered her injured daughter during the shooting, literally offering to take the bullet for her. thousands of students grieved together, comforted one another, and determined to live their lives with purpose and courage. is this not the image of God, if only as a cloud the size of a man's hand?

sin has thoroughly marred the imprint of God on this world; there is no created thing it has not touched and distorted in some way. but the imprint remains. and all around us, even in the most distressing and evil situations, he is yet revealing himself -- and will until that final day.

then i saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. and i saw the holy city, new jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. and i heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he will dwell among them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be among them. and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain...."
revelation 21:1-4

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