“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, fatally shot 20 children (ages 6-7) and 6 adults, and then took his own life as first responders arrived.
That could have been the end of the story. In fact, for many people, the tragedy at Sandy Hook is a distant memory. For others though, it stands as a stark reminder that we must do better. We live in a sin-sick world, and we should be an influence for good.
And, thankfully, the tragedy at Sandy Hook isn’t the end of the story. Some people are making a difference. And I was thankful to have been a witness to two events recently that are ensuring that we change the narrative in this country.
The first is called Race For Chase. Chase was a young boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy. But his story didn’t end there. Chase loved to run, swim, and bike. And the CMAK foundation (http://www.cmakfoundation.org; Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) honors his life in many ways, the most well-known is helping kids take part in something Chase got to do and loved – triathlons.
CMAK’s vision statement is: To turn tragedy into triumph by healing and strengthening our families and communities.
Both my girls got to participate in the Race For Chase this week through the YMCA in York County. After 6 weeks of training, 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, ~30 kids took part in this great event. We are so thankful for the foundation, the coaches, and all the sponsors who helped bring Race For Chase to York County. It was a blessing to watch these kids, several of whom couldn’t swim or bike beforehand, blossom into triathletes!
The other event I got to take part in recently was an Eagle Scout’s project to help train first responders. As sad as it is, school shootings have become a part of life in this country. And, while we want to do everything we can to stop that from being our future, training police and EMT staff to respond better, could save lives.
So, last month, several dozen teens and adults took part in two “mock” shootings in Gaston County, NC. The Eagle Scout candidate, a member of our congregation, worked with the law enforcement and EMTs to help provide this training. They got to see in “real time” how to react and how to save lives in these worst-case scenarios.
While we hope there is never any reason for them to use this training, they are all better prepared to serve in their community and save lives.
I am thankful to know that there are people like the Kowalskis who turn tragedy into triumph. I am thankful to know that there are first responders who put their lives on the line every day. I am thankful to know that are young people still have a hope of a better tomorrow.
In Church, we occasionally sing the hymn, “This World Is Not My Home.” It reminds us that our citizenship is in Heaven and this earth is our temporary residence. And we often need the reminder that our focus should be more heavenly than worldly. But we must also remember that we are called to be lights in the world.
Last week I began a series on the Olympics by preaching about our need to be torchbearers in a lost and dark world. I am thankful for those who don’t just talk about change but truly try to enact it.
Of course, the greatest change of all, eternal life in Heaven, is only possible because of the sacrifice made by Jesus. CMAK’s vision statement ought to be a rallying cry for all Christians: “To turn tragedy into triumph by healing and strengthening our families and communities.”
Have you believed in Him? Have you repented of your sins, confessed Jesus as the Son of God, and been baptized for the forgiveness of sin? A safer, better world is a wonderful thing to strive for while we are here. But let’s do it with the knowledge of our eternal security by giving our lives to God today. If I can help you come to know that joy, please get in touch.