“Blessed are the Peacemakers!”
Dear Fellow Church Members,
One month after the Parkland tragedy, students across the United States participated in school-wide walkouts to pay tribute to the lives that were lost. Many included seventeen minutes of silence, during which the stories of the victims were shared. Although students at both our school and others were aware of the potential consequences they may face by leaving class, over half of the Biotech student body exited the building and held a small ceremony of remembrance for the victims. The names and stories of each person were read, and a rose was laid in honor of that person’s life. Of these was Nicholas Dworet, a 17 year old who was recruited for a swimming scholarship to the University of Indianapolis. Denis Lehtio, a football coach who shielded students from gunfire. Joaquin Oliver, a 17 year old who had just gained his US citizenship a year ago. And Alaina Petty, a 14 year old who devoted her time to volunteering and was described as vibrant. Thirteen others fell victim to the same fate.
It is chilling to know that all of these people led similar lives to us. They were high school students. They were fathers, daughters, sons, and daughters and friends. But above all, they were God’s children. He loved them during their time on earth, and He continues to love them in heaven. We find comfort knowing that they are cradled safely in His arms and no more harm can be brought upon them. Yet, we still mourn with the loved ones that they left behind. This event has touched the members of the senior high, and we are blessed to have taken part in the walkouts and express support towards parkland.
Let’s close in prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, we know that You are our protector and that you love us unconditionally, no matter our walks of life. WE pray that you comfort those affected by Parkland in their times of anguish. Lay a gentle touch on the hearts of the grieving. Although we may be fearful, help us to trust you. Help us to fear no evil, even as we walk through the shadow of the valley of death. For You are always with us. You were in Parkland, at Columbine, in Newtown, in Las Vegas and in Orlando. And You are with us now at Grace Christian Church. Work through us to make this world a place of peace. Amen