There are moments in your life you’ll never forget! What you were doing, where you were at the time, who you were with. Moments like the Shuttle Challenger explosion – January 28, 1986…9/11 (September 11, 2001) and the terrible events 9/11 marks forever in our history…The Platte Canyon High School tragedy in Bailey, Colorado – September 27th, 2006…and most certainly, the tragedy of Columbine High School, April 20, 1999. To add to these now, sadly, is the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech this past week.
We all have personal anniversaries in our lives which cause us to reflect certainly, but these tragedies impact on a national, I would even suggest as global, level. They tie families together that would never have crossed paths were it not for the connections they had to the tragedy and because the impact is so vast, it ties each of us to a friend who knows someone impacted, or a relative of ours who knows someone, or even our relative involved. It’s big, it’s very challenging to deal with, and like it or not, it’s what owns the headlines across the nations and on our television screens, so at some level, we all must deal with it.
Today we remember Columbine. I work for Dare 2 Share Ministries. Columbine made a huge impact on this ministry. Our President and Founder of the ministry, Greg Stier, changed his whole life around as a result of the Columbine tragedy. He resigned as lead pastor of his church so that he could be involved in Dare 2 Share Ministries full time. Since that time, a renewed focus for our ministry is equipping youth leaders and teenagers across this nation with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to provide them (and adults involved with them) the challenge to become passionate about sharing this hope found in Jesus with everyone around them.
After tragedies like the Virginia Tech Shootings, and Columbine occur, I am saddened when I read the stories released as a result of the investigations which describe the severely troubled individuals involved in executing such mass chaos and pain through the shooting and taking of innocent lives. These individuals didn’t express the hope of Jesus within their lives, it’s highly likely they didn’t know him at all. I wonder what would have changed if they really knew, REALLY KNEW, who they were in Jesus – that they could have the acceptance, hope, love, and courage to stand tall as a son or daughter of Jesus despite any of life’s circumstances! (Whoever is reading this – please, if you have no idea whether or not you have a personal relationship with Jesus, know this – you can, and it’s the most important relationship you can ever have – if you have questions I’d love to talk more with you about it!)
Here at Dare 2 Share, not only were Greg and many other of our staff impacted by Columbine, but another staff member was very impacted. Lane Palmer was working as a youth pastor when Columbine happened. Read his article addressing the anniversary today :
Sometimes the phrase “it seemed like yesterday” can be viewed as an overused cliché, but in this case it is absolutely accurate.
I’m talking about the April 20th, 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher were killed by two students who later took their lives. The reason it still seems like yesterday is because of my closeness to the situation. I was a youth pastor in Littleton, Colorado with a youth group made up primarily of Columbine students.
At first the images from that day struck me as a fire at the school, but within seconds the cold hard reality of what was really going on sunk into my conscious mind. The unthinkable was happening…
MY FINAL THOUGHTS FOR YOU TODAY:
Take a moment today to remember. Take a moment to evaluate your part – do you know someone you need to reach out to today, to remind them that they are cared for and loved? Do you need to remind your husband, kids, brother, sister, mom, dad, friend that they are not alone and that you celebrate their lives? Do you need to reach out to someone hurting with loss as a result of a tragedy in their life and they need to be soothed by the fact that you remember and hurt with them? Too often we’re too busy and it’s an afterthought. Make a difference in someone’s life today!