Wednesday, October 04, 2006

WWJD?: A Meditation on Redemption, Suffering, and Community

Driving to the library to do research on Tuesday afternoon, I heard a story on NPR's All Things Considered about the shootings at the Amish school in Pennsylvania. While the focus of the story was on growing Amish interest in and use of mental health services, the latter end of the piece related how some members of the community are already seeking to reach out to the shooter's family and extend hands of forgiveness. The bloggers over at GetReligion noted this element of the events as well.

For some reason, this story struck me today. How, I wondered, could people in the midst of rupture, death, and destruction think about extending grace and forgiveness? Of course the Amish are well known for pacifist convictions, yet to hear that, according to this story, some practice what they preach, it was refreshing and encouraging to say the least.

And in a day where (un)righteous revenge very often informs and dictates matters of national import, it is nice to hear that some people have a sensible answer to the now commodified question, "What Would Jesus Do?"

Though ironic and mysterious, hope exists in the midst of despair, community in the midst of fracture, life in the midst of death, and redemption in the midst of suffering.

As the liturgy says, "Lord, hear our prayers."