Monday, April 23, 2007

A Week of Downs, with Some “Ups” at the End

I came home from a 5 day retreat to the news of the Virginia Tech situation and saturation coverage on TV. I just couldn’t find the words to blog about that sort of tragedy. On Wednesday, the TV news was full of pictures of the shooter’s videos. On one show, they had a split screen, with the shooter on the right and the “expert” giving his opinion that it was quite wrong to show these videos over and over. And while he was talking, there the images were, over and over. And the anchor said something mild in agreement. And the images kept playing. I felt anger, besides the sadness.

I feel great respect for the family members stood up to the news organizations and told them that these images were a second assault.

And we are also inundated with rehashes of Columbine and other school shootings. I didn’t hear any mention of the shootings at Red Lake (seven dead), which made me wonder if the networks had forgotten this since it was so far out of the way. Or did they not remember because the victims weren’t white?

On Friday, my daughter called to tell us that the mother of a friend of hers had died. There are unresolved questions regarding the circumstances of this death. I am friends with the woman’s mother; my children are friends with the woman’s children. The children’s father died a few years ago. Imagine being 22 and losing both parents already.

Saturday, DH and I went to hear the National Lutheran Choir. The choral music was heavenly. DH said that he listened and read the words of the music in light of the Virginia Tech tragedy. He said that the first set, which was liturgical, was appropriate for his thoughts. For example:

Through the darkness and fear

I have come to see clear,

that the shadows of death

could never conquer the day. (Sade Rissanen)

On the other hand, he said that the second half, with some sing-alongs of some old Christian hymns seemed trite under the circumstance.

I just used the music as an escape from thoughts about my friend’s daughter.

Sunday we had confirmation at church, with music by Bill Maxwell and Friends, which plays a sort of country/blue grass flavor of music. That was great.

I was particularly touched by the sermon. The pastor spoke about/to each confirmand’s strengths and heart, telling us all that confirmation is not a graduation but a commissioning.

I know that some of the older people have criticized the confirmation programs in recent years for not being rigorous enough. And I know that the pastors have struggled with the number of students they get who are forced to attend confirmation class even though the parents haven’t brought these kids to Sunday School or church, nor do they attend themselves. But I marvel, yes, I’m envious, at the sense of faith, spirituality, and sense of service that the pastors, youth leaders, and other confirmation teachers have endeavored to instill and often, managed to instill, in these young people. I can’t remember anyone from my home church ever taking a personal interest in me or the other kids in our church. And the confirmation classes never never touched on any life application of the lessons. We never even opened the Bible.

To sum up my thoughts after this past week: Don’t pass up any chances to be a Christian mentor to young people around you.

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