Monday, October 1, 2007

Lamenting Violence

For the second Monday evening in a row, those of us gathered in the chapel for Evening Prayer today will pray for a student that has been shot and the campus community shaken by this violence. I can only begin to imagine the grief of Taylor Bradford's family in Memphis tonight.

These aren't just news stories to me, and not only because I work on a college campus. I know both these campuses. I lived in Delaware and Memphis and I've been on both campuses. I have very dear friends who work at Memphis State and I know how hurt they are that their campus has experienced such violence. I know it without even talking to them because we are part of a religious community of prayer. I know that they are also praying for Bradford's family and for peace in their community.

I want to shake my head and ask how such violence could happen. But the truth is I'm not that surprised anymore. As a campus chaplain I feel some obligation to help our students learn tools other than violence. But it seems such a futile effort when everywhere around us we are surrounded by violence. Why should college campuses be any different?

A colleague reported physical abuse of her child to authorities over the weekend. The death toll in Iraq continues to rise each day. Even as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter meet in the Sudan to try to find a way to peace. Tonight I will pray that they will find a way, and that all the rest of us will learn from their example.

May Taylor rest in peace and rise in glory.

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