New Zealand Terror Attack: Mourning the Loss of Sacred Life

Let us offer our heartfelt lamentations. Let us comfort those who weep. Let us pray for those who are experiencing this loss in a deeply personal way. May God comfort us all and give us peace.

People call family and friends outside a mosque in central Christchurch in the aftermath of the shooting. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP

Like so many of us, I woke to the heart wrenching news that 49 Muslims were killed Friday when a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. This is an evil act that must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Every human life–no matter what a person believes, says, thinks, or does–is made in God's image.

This morning, even as the news of what happened in New Zealand was breaking, I sat across a table from a dear friend whose heart is breaking because he recently lost his son. He spoke of how his theological understanding that all people are valuable has suddenly become vividly personal. It acutely reminded me that the lives of those lost in New Zealand are not just a news story. Their losses are personal. They were beautifully, wonderfully, and sacredly made and must be recognized as such. Their losses must be mourned as such. Let us grieve for the families who are facing this devastation and pray for those struggling to overcome their injuries.

Jesus mourned for individuals who faced extreme hardship and for those who died. He also mourned collectively for entire cities and communities when they were undergoing extreme strife and tragedy. Let us similarly weep and mourn for each individual life lost. And let us grieve on a global and societal level because through an action of hate, all of us have lost something. Let us offer our heartfelt lamentations. Let us comfort those who weep. Let us pray for those who are experiencing this loss in a deeply personal way. May God comfort us all and give us peace.

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