1 Dead, 3 Injured After Shooting At Seattle Pacific University

I am still processing… I remain mostly wordless, save the moments of anger, sadness, and bewilderment. My wife is in a doctoral program at SPU, and my two incredible kids along with a number of other young adults from my church are undergrads at the University. There are also  some faculty and staff from SPU who attend the church I pastor. As I write, my heart is still numb and stunned in light of the tragic shooting event that happened on the SPU campus yesterday.

Tragedy and crisis reveal the foundation and reality of who we truly are. When we are squeezed through crisis, what comes out of us is what is inside of us. In other words, circumstances reveal our true character, not the exceptions to our character. How you respond reveals who you are.

The community of students, staff, and faculty at SPU are revealing that they are forming deeply into the image of Christ…

In the wake of this tragedy I see:

Courage…
Love…
Forgiveness…
Community…
Questions…
Mystery…
Emotional honesty…
Relational vulnerability…

spuIn the worst of situations, the SPU community is not pontificating a political stump speech exploiting someones pain for their platform, nor are they acting in a narcissistic frenzied fashion grabbing social media and air time. No, they are revealing that they have an anchor that is forming deep within their individual and collective soul that holds steady, yet not without frailty, in the storm.

As I was trying to connect with my kids hoping and praying that they were okay, along with the others I know there, my heart began to spontaneously sing a great hymn within the quiet corridors of my mind…

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Darkness only seems to hide His (God’s) face…

God walks amongst the empty shotgun shells…

spu-spd6His Spirit is moving through the corridors of mind and dorm…

The wounds of Christ the only balm to heal such senseless evil…

At SPU, the anchor holds because it is tethered to something beyond the best we can offer on our own. The anchor is Christ Himself who alone understands the pain of a family asking “Why our boy?” “Why us?” 

I cannot imagine the pain this family is in…so I pray their anchor holds.

I cannot fathom the emotional gutting they are experiencing…so I pray their anchor holds.

I know life is now forever different for them…so I pray their anchor holds.

paul leeHis name is Paul Lee…he matters…his family matters…his friends matter…Paul’s journey on this side of eternity is over, but now he walks in pastures of grace with Christ, but for those who love him, the journey here will be one of sacred wounds…so I pray for this family, “may Christ be your anchor… pushing back the  darkness… and bathing you in healing grace.”

I am proud that the SPU community has chosen to refrain from pithy Christian clichés’, which minimize the pain, and instead, choose to wrestle with the uneasiness of the evil that has found a crack in which to enter their world.

I wondered if my kids would want to come home. At first they said yes, then I was as proud as a pastor dad could be when I heard, “No, I think I’ll stay here to be around to talk with people who need someone.” So instead, Amy and I will go in to visit them, it’s more for my soul than theirs. They are being light and part of their community in the right way.

Life is a gift..
Life is fragile…
Life is fleeting…

Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) Life is the gift of the present moment, and that truly is all we have. The only way I know how to live well in the moment is to stay anchored to Christ. Jesus knows that when we are continually future-tripping we forget to hold, kiss, and say I love you to the ones that matter most to us.

But it is difficult to be in the moment when the moment is flooded with pain…

We want to escape…

We want to blame…

We want answers…

We want vengeance…

We want to medicate…

But what the SPU community is modeling right now is the choice to simply “Be” in the painful moment.

Silently, wordlessly, quizzically, and honestly. They are grieving well, and as a result, the peace of Christ is pushing back the darkness.

 

Their anchor holds…

 

My hat is off to Dr, Martin, the President of SPU, and the faculty, staff, and students.

You make me proud to be a Christ-follower  as your response in the spotlight of pain shines the light of Jesus in the darkness of the moment.

Your anchor holds, safe within the veil.

As for me, I can’t wait to hug my kids.

12 Comments

  1. Beautifully written Monty! My prayers to all of you. When I saw the article on FB from the news channel I immediately thought of you and Amy knowing your kids attend there!

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  2. Pastor Wright we are honored by your post and I so appreciate the support. Your words express my feelings so well. God remains on the throne. I am holding up your children up and Amy up as well. I’d appreciate your prayers for me and the rest of the faculty and staff. We are devastated. Lord be with you, Chris Sink

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