If anyone needed a reminder of the reality of suffering and sin, we have seen another example this morning in the early hours of The Dark Knight Rises premier. Reports are still being clarified, but the alleged suspect arrived and threw a tear gas like gas in the theater and then proceed to fire an unknown number of weapons and rounds of ammunition. As of this writing twelve are reported dead and over forty injured in a variety of ways. As many may be asking at this point in the day, “What was the point?”
The sad truth is that there may never be an answer that will satisfy those of us that are wondering. There will never be an answer that will ease the pain of the loss of life. Events like this occur far too often, but it is not until a sensational event takes place, like the one this morning that our attentions are sharply drawn. I am frustrated by this. I am angry that this has happened again. But, some of my frustration and some of my anger is pointed at a culture that insists that it understands the deepest longings of the human heart, mind and soul. We have become so enlightened that we are more ignorant and more perverse than ever before.
I find it somewhat ironic that James Holmes, the suspect that was arrested, was released from the University of Colorado where he was a PH.D. student in neuroscience.
While I was finishing my undergraduate degree, I had to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It is an interesting tale of a man by the name of Tomáš. His defining characteristic is that he has an insatiable sexual appetite. And yet, he never seems to find any peace or satisfaction. Instead of finding a weightiness to his existence, Tomáš realizes that his being is unbearable light. There is no substance, no significance, nothing of value or worth to his life. As you read the book you find that it is not in the abundance of pleasure that you find meaning. This is the strange existential reality of life. While many of us who heard about this terrible event feel sorrow and mourn with those that have lost; and while we feel a righteous anger toward the one who committed these heinous acts, we eventually all turn our attentions inward.
We turn inward because we think about what we would have done if we had been there. We turn inward wondering how we would feel if we had been injured, known someone who died or second guessed our decision to get out without helping others. We turn inward because we all are faced with the undying and unrelenting question, “Am I doing anything with my life worth remembering?” This is a fundamental reality.
If we were honest with ourselves we would have to acknowledge the general self-centeredness of our lives. I hate to even admit it, but it is true. We more often than not are looking out for “good ole #1.” What do we have in our lives that helps us to counteract this? The only example we have is Jesus’ self-less love for sinners. Jesus died for those that deserved it least. We are the reason for his death and suffering and he is the reason for our life and joy.
Paul says it this way in Philippians 2:
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NKJV)
The mind of Christ, as Paul calls it describes the change that takes place within those who follow Jesus. This change affects everything that we do, especially how we see and respond to tragedies like the one that occurred this morning. I do not make any claims in knowing how Jesus would respond to this event. I do think that it would include sorrow, weeping and a desire to serve those affected.
A dark night rose last night. It just was not the one that everyone was looking forward to.
- 14 Killed in Mass Shooting at Batman Premiere in Colorado (mashable.com)
- 14 dead in Colorado theater shooting. (krem.com)
- 14 Shot Dead, 50 Wounded During Dark Knight Rises Showing in Colorado [Shootings] (gawker.com)
- 14 Dead, 50 Injured After Late Night Shooting at ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Screening in Colorado: VIDEO (towleroad.com)