There is an old prayer for children in the Book of Common Prayer that begins like this: “God, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world…” After the horror of Las Vegas, we have to ask ourselves can anyplace be safe? We worry so very much about our children and the unpredictable choices and influences that affect their daily lives. We want to shield them from the evils that surround us, because they are our children and we love them more than life itself.

If Las Vegas holds anything for us, it is a reminder how arbitrary and cruel the world is. How senseless violence can take lives without rhyme or reason. And now we stand, perhaps, on the threshold of a nuclear confrontation. It causes my heart to bleed.

And then I read the rest of that old prayer: “Show them that Your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following You is better than chasing after selfish goals….Give them strength to hold their faith in You, and to keep alive their joy in Your Creation…” So that is what we do at St. Mark’s School. We do not ignore what happens in the world around us, but we hold fast to our faith in God as the sure and certain hope for the future.

I hate the fact that our students have to grow up afraid of what might happen, but nevertheless, we have it in our power to teach them not to be afraid. Did you know that is what Jesus tells his disciples in the Gospels, more than anything else, “Do Not Be Afraid.” We cannot live in fear no matter how hard or terrible things may seem. For this community our strength and courage comes from the sure and certain hope that God is with us no matter what happens and that faith is the core of our will and strength.  No matter what do not give into fear. So do not be afraid!