NORMAN — Dark plumes of smoke rose from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. The world watched in horror as at least 16 terrorists stormed the mall, taking and killing numerous hostages as they battled Kenyan soldiers.
Earlier this month, 12 were killed at the Washington Navy Yard before the shooter was killed by police. In April, three were killed and 264 were injured as two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
And we all remember the unspeakably horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting just 10 months ago that left 26 children and staff dead before the gunman took his own life.
After last week’s shooting in Washington, one commentator was resigned to the “fact” that these killings are just part of life in our world today. I cringed.
The Columbine High School shootings in 1999 seem to have marked some kind of beginning point. Maybe it was the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 that was the watershed moment. Or, maybe it was when Cain killed Abel.
It just seems that these types of events are more and more commonplace. What are we to do?
Jesus came announcing a new kingdom. It is a kingdom marked by love, peace and compassion for others. It is a kingdom of righteousness amidst forgiveness and grace. This new kingdom stands in contrast to those kingdoms where all mixtures of good and evil battle for power and control.
Our dilemma is that this new kingdom will not be fully realized until the future. So, how shall we live in the between times? How shall we live in a world where evil and violence often win the day and create all kinds of death, woundedness and chaos?
The beatitudes in Matthew 5 speak to living in the between times. They speak of comfort for those who mourn, mercy for those who offer mercy, satisfaction for those who pursue righteousness.