By Paul Louis Metzger
professor at Mutnomah Biblical Seminary
The fatal, tragic shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon highlights how vulnerable we all are. We should not take people’s lives for granted, even though many question today if life has any real meaning or value. As I watched the footage last night and grieved the horror, I thought to myself: what a senseless waste of precious life!
What made sense to me were individuals who confessed faith in Christ in the midst of the tragedy. No doubt, even when facing tragedy, they believed Christ brought meaning out of despair. This morning in my theology class, one of the students shared how the gunman asked for Christians to identify themselves. When they did, he shot them dead (See the following article: “Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage”). My student reminded me of something I said weeks ago in class: a faith not worth dying for is not worth living for.
No doubt, the Christians there at Umpqua Community College believed with a sense of urgency. Perhaps they had already come to terms with the reality that their faith brought so much meaning to them that they were willing to die for it. It makes me wonder: do I find my faith in Christ worth living for? If I am not willing to die for it, why bother living for it—for him—now? The Christians who were senselessly murdered yesterday have brought more Christian sense and purpose to my life today. I am grateful for their witness. I also pray for their families, and all those bound up with this mass shooting Christian and non-Christian alike that they would find meaning and comfort in the midst of this tragedy. My faith that is worth dying for tells me that everyone’s life is precious; may we learn to die daily to ourselves so that those around us—and that we ourselves—can truly live.
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