Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
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Lesson of the Virginia Tech Tragedy
Dear Brother Ron
This is truly a time for lengthy, heartfelt prayer for all the tragic
victims at the college, those who died, were shot, and are relatives,
friends, and classmates where this hideous act occurred.
I think it is also a time to look at these stark deaths, and see the broader
reality it takes in. Particularly, this kind of event CANNOT be allowed to
reoccur. This will take planning and expertise I lack, but what must be
done, must be done. If that means NOT BANNING GUNS on campus, so students
and professors are not easy prey, then let that be done. John Donne wrote
that "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind."
That brings up the lesson that perhaps some in our society have
forgotten-that ANY persons death diminishes us.
America has indeed suffered a severe tragedy in the recent events at
Virginia Tech. Our hearts go out to the grieving families of those who died
and the ones who lay wounded in hospital beds. This was a senseless act
which cut short the lives of people whose only crime or sin was going to
At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, I wish to suggest that the real
lesson from this tragedy may be that death does not have the finality we
attribute to it. Yes, we grieve for the pain and suffering of the victims
and their families. I wish with all of you that this could have been
avoided. But this may be a good time to pause and reflect on how many
senseless deaths occur every day.
Every year, over 50,000 Americans die on our streets because they wanted to
drive from one place to another. Every day, people in Iraq die because they
went to the store or to work or to a mosque to pray. The number and causes
of senseless deaths is almost endless. Given this fact, maybe death is not
the tolling of the final bell we believe it to be.
I believe this was the message Jesus was trying to send us. By rising from
the grave, He proved that death has no power at all compared to the power of
God. Some day, accident or disease will destroy my physical body. This
thought holds no terror for me because I know the life within me which came
from God will return to Him. I also believe God is the ultimate recycler. He
will use that life once again to further His plan for the universe.
We are right to mourn the loss of the victims. We might even mourn for the
tortured young man who felt driven to commit such a hideous act before
taking his own life. But to view it as the finality of life? I don't think