Do You Know What You’ve Done…
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
--Psalm 139: 13-16, 23-24
On one occasion, when our middle child was about 18 months, he turned a potted plant upside down on top of his head. The plant became unpotted, the potting soil poured all over him and onto the floor. Consequently, his frustrated mother cried, “Peter, do you know what you’ve done?” To which our stoic six year old replied, “No, Mom, I don’t think he does!”
When my 28 year-old, younger brother took his life 21 years ago, I remember being angry… angry at God, angry at him and just angry. At one point in this anger, however, I asked myself if he had really known what he had done… can you hear it… “No, Steve, I don’t think he did!”
When someone decides to go out and shoot up a school, store, church or other public place and take a bunch of people out of this world as they end their own misery in life, I have to ask myself, “Do they know what they’ve done?”... Answer: “No, I don’t think that they did!”
You see, there are times in our life when we are not fully responsible or even aware of our actions and their consequences. There are times in our life when unlike the Psalmist, we are unable to see God’s thumbprint in our life or the lives of others. This may be because we are too young and immature… or it might be because we are experiencing emotional trauma and depression. Oh and yes, in a very few cases a person has been so corrupted by evil that God’s grace and forgiveness is repugnant to them.
So when I see someone willing to sacrifice their own life and to take the lives of others wantonly, I have to believe that for the most part, this person is at a place where they don’t see either themselves or those they are taking aim at as being “fearfully and wonderfully made!”
We can blame our gun laws and bullying and other circumstances if we want. These all play some small part in this, but…
At the heart of the problem are people who have forgotten what it means to be someone who bears the thumbprint of God… the Imago Dei… within their heart and soul.
The new meme in response to gun violence has become “Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough…” The people who put this out there are right.
It’s time for us to remind everyone we meet that they are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made”. It’s time for us to reclaim our reverence for life.
Prayer: Oh Lord, remind us today that we are indeed created, formed and shaped by you.
Remind us that the person who cut us off in traffic was created formed and shaped by you.
Remind us that the overbearing boss or teacher was created formed and shaped by you.
Remind us that the loud, obnoxious person in the next booth was created formed and shaped by you.
Remind us Lord, that we will reverence not only the life you give to us, but the lives you give to others.
Remind us that we might learn to love others and to love ourselves.
Search us, Oh God, and remind us who we are!
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran