In the aftermath of the shootings at Newtown Elementary School, posts have appeared on social media addressing the question “Where was God when this happened?”
Whilst asking and answering such questions is important, this should be the second, or even third, phase of a Christian response.
At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, beautifully described by Eugene Peterson in his paraphrase The Message:
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. (John 1:14)
The example of Jesus and his followers demonstrates compassion for people around, alongside the teaching about God and the preaching of the Gospel.
Perhaps before addressing the deep questions, we should begin by entering into the experience, as far as we can in our respective locations. So let’s follow the advice of Paul to the Roman Christians:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15 NIV)