This past Tuesday morning I opened my copy of the Fort Collins Coloradoan at my breakfast table to discover two very alarming headlines: The former referred to an unimaginable incident that transpired early Saturday morning at the corner of College and Mountain avenues, just a short walk from my home and our church. The latter speaks to an appalling crime that transpired near Myrtle and Remington streets, near many of our parishioner’s homes and in the vicinity of our church. One a senseless assault that took the life of a 24 year old father of three, and the other a drive-by shooting that wounded a 22 year old college student as she walked home from an evening out with her friends. In an instant I was both jarred by the brazen disregard for human life, and caught up in the self centered realization that these crimes happened in my own community, on sidewalks that I walk when I’m going to dinner or out for some exercise. These are the very sidewalks that I have walked this past year with confidence and a sense of safety.
Admittedly I caught myself in what I have come to understand as the “out here” mentality. A notion held by many in the affluent suburbs of Jefferson County prior to the shootings at Columbine High School. It was a flawed belief that bad things don’t happen in the polite society where one lives. Or more simply put: “These things don’t happen…out here.” Out where? The suburbs? In an affluent society? In historic Old Town? In a city rated among the Top Ten places to live in the United States? It was hard to come to grips with then, and it still stings now: Evil happens everywhere, Satan wishes to devour everyone, and we are foolish to acknowledge anything less. If this is true, then what is left?Let us be brazen enough to ask our Father to cast out evil from our community.
John 1:5 stands out as an immediate answer: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” It points to the only reason we can acknowledge the plans of the Evil One and not be crushed under the horror of his determination. In Christ we find our hope and our refuge. Christ who has risen from the dead, trampling death itself. We believe in his divine assistance and protection from darkness and we know that if we live our life in union with Him and his Church, receiving his Body and Blood…that even if one should mar our bodies or spill our blood, they may not do harm to our eternal soul. It’s a well founded reason to hope, and it allows us to live our life without fear.
Confident in our hope, let us turn to prayer. Let us be brazen enough to ask our Father to cast out evil from our community. Let us implore him to walk with friend and stranger alike. Let us plead for mercy on those who will arrive at their end today, and intercede so that they might choose to dwell in a state of grace. Let us beseech heaven for conversion and healing upon the emissaries of darkness. Daily let us commend all things to Christ to be dealt with according to his perfect will.