A Calvin Theological Seminary Publication by Students & Alumni
In The Face of Tragedy: A Response to the Shooting in Nashville

In The Face of Tragedy: A Response to the Shooting in Nashville

*trigger warning: this post involves subject matter that may be upsetting for some readers. please be advised and use discernment about whether you are ok to continue reading, and if you are not for any reason, please seek help. Calvin Seminary, your local church and private institutions can all offer great resources for this difficult time. -Adam Sculnick, Editor of Kerux

As Christians, we believe that every person is made in the image of God. This means that every individual, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status, mental health status or varying political or worldview ideology has inherent worth and dignity. It is a belief that has been passed down through generations, given to us in the very opening pages of scripture when God made male and female in His image (Gen. 1:26 and following)and it serves as a reminder of the profound love that God has for all of us.

However, this belief can be difficult to hold onto in times of tragedy and suffering, such as the recent shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville. The loss of innocent lives can leave us feeling helpless, angry, and confused. It can cause us to be come reactionary, to begin placing blame, seeking justice, or acting in fear. there are examples of these reactions in both the larger evangelical community and the trans community, both claiming to fear attacks and both seeking to blame shift. But it is precisely in these moments that we need to cling to the belief that every person is made in the image of God.

It can be hard to see how the love of God fits into situations of suffering and tragedy. We may question how a God who is said to be loving and just can allow such things to happen. But it is important to remember that we live in a world that is broken and fallen. Sin has entered the world, and it has corrupted everything. It is only through God’s love that we can find hope and healing in the midst of pain.

As Christians, we believe that God is with us in our suffering. We do not believe that God causes suffering, but we do believe that God can use it for good. This is not to say that we should try to make sense of every tragedy that happens or that we should try to justify it in any way. Instead, we should turn to God in prayer and seek comfort and guidance from Him. If we take any action at all with regards to our neighbors, we should remember the charges that we carry from Christ in scripture to “not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) and to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44). Nowhere for any reason do we see any call towards hate, blame placement or retaliation, nor do we need to fear those things in return.

In times of tragedy, we should also remember the importance of community. The shooting in Nashville is a reminder that we need to come together as a community to support one another in our grief. As we mourn the loss of innocent lives, we can turn to God for comfort and find hope in the knowledge that every person is made in His image, and that In all thing, God is working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Don’t let this horrific scene of violence be the beginning of another statistic about Christianity being a hypocritical faith. Instead, let’s make this moment in history go down as the time when the Church was the Church and did what Christ, our Head, commands us to do.

Adam Sculnick

Sinner | Saint | Servant