Friday, February 17, 2023

Standing Down

shooter killed three, and injured five, Michigan State University (MSU) students.

Law enforcement professionals sprinted into action and a key verse has emerged:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11
The mass shooting timeline highlights discipline's difficulty.  Officers responded from as far away as Grand Rapids and metro Detroit, but a segment of the law enforcement community had to stand down.  While their colleagues rescued students, searched the campus and endured chaos, a few lived vicariously through walkie talkies.  Restraint had to be shown, to ensure local jurisdictions still had a police presence.  Robbery, rape and domestic violence gnaw in the background of a mass shooting.  

From previous disasters, police have learned that coverage still has to be provided, even when 50,000 people are running for their lives.  Listening to 911 pleas for help, without authorization to act, is painful.  Nevertheless, women and men - some younger than the MSU students and faculty - disciplined themselves by meeting needs in the city rather than absorbing on-campus pandemonium.

In a sector patrolled by a Lansing Police officer, Anthony McRae was identified.  

A citizen had to trust the police enough to call and officers had to be available to earn the trust.  A 911 caller risked and, because of disciplined restraint, officers were available to approach the shooter.  Campus was chaotic when, "Let me see your hands," was barked near a cold and lonely street corner.  Away from the lights, cameras, tweets and lamentations, a few cops were doing their jobs.

A few cops witnessed a completed suicide, smelled gushing blood and rendered aid.  They secured the scene, awaited the coroner and typed a report with trembling hands.  

Hebrews mentions "Later on..." as the time of discipline's payoff.  We trust the Word is true and wait with expectation for righteousness, truth and Christ's return.  While we wait, however, we have work to do.  As cops await the righteousness and peace the Bible promises, chaplains wait with them.  

Chaplains listen while officers describe the indescribable.  Chaplains lead devotions before the shift, show up with a hug and use ears and mouth in proportion. We bring goodies and keep confidences.  

We are blessed to work with a team.  Thank you for the ways you've been checking in.  Some of you pray, give or post comments.  Others converse in the grocery store, text and send direct messages.  Each has greatly encouraged the work and workers!  Often, the questions bubble: how can I help...what can I do?

Open your hand and point your palm at the Michigan State University campus.  If you're miles away, discover the cardinal direction and point.  Read Hebrews 12:11 out loud as you point.  

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11

Do it again.

When hopelessness and fear begin to suffocate, point and read all of Hebrews 12.  Implement the same goodness in your own life by audibly reading the entire chapter as you walk in your home.  

Read Hebrews 12 thrice.  First read with a pace and tone that allows non-anxious biblical engagement.  (Some of the words can trip us up!)  A second reading can be in a nursery rhyme, sing-song voice often used with children.  (Sounds weird but so is dealing with the angst of a school shooting...try it.)  A third audible reading is with the expectation that the Lord will speak, through scripture, to your personal circumstance.  (Get selfish...expect God to help you while you are helping MSU.)

When you get to the part(s) you find helpful, underline.  "Later on..." pull the underlined texts back out and re-engage using a helpful tool.  Leave a comment to let us know about the harvests of righteousness and peace you receive.

We gratefully offer Christ-centered outreach among first responders and the communities served.  Together we are trusting Jesus to change lives.

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