public domain

by Elizabeth de Barros

In light of the heartbreaking news of the Dec. 14, 2012 mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I offer this *post. My first consideration was to say nothing, but the urgency of the hour compels me to share what is burning in my heart. Soli Deo Gloria.   

*Updated on 12/13/2013.


Inherent to true north is that it provides knowledge of more than just one direction, but it’s the only one you really need to know if you’re lost.

It’s the same for the times in which we live. Having a Biblical grid and a sure course to follow in this postmodern, post-truth, post-trauma era is as much a moral imperative as it’s ever been.

But the usual signposts are either missing or they’re wrong. Something else is happening. 

Our children are dying. Tender lambs. Young innocents are being taken out by deranged, cold-blooded murderers on an otherwise sunny day. Media bears the responsibility of getting the facts straight before it becomes breaking news, but tragedy of such proportions demands answers beyond the necessary gathered analytical data. Names and numbers are helpful, but they do not heal.

Therein lies the burden to understand why. 

grief (2)



When society suffers ills unspeakable, it’s crucial to know it’s not mere happenstance. Nor is it the “cycle of life” and “better days are coming.” Anecdotal band-aids soon fall off. Random is not a meaningful word when blood is smeared on the walls and spilled on the floors of theaters, malls, and classrooms. We must do something. Death has come up into our windows, now delivered at our door. Light is gone from our eyes as we look on the carnage streaming an eerie blue from our electronic devices.

Grief is now public domain.

It’s reasonable to ask why. Unconscionable not to. Meantime, the sensitive strong offer much-needed calm with their words and hugs of consolation while opportunists aim hard at strategic targets to further their agenda. But we are post-debate. Guns or no guns, beds are empty tonight. Photos are all that’s left, and cherished memories will always have a way of haunting. They’ll have to do, but they don’t. Death is not a friend. It’s the last enemy.

The times call for something greater to be done. Silence and reflection is an appropriate place to start. May it lead to groans. Let the heaving of deep repentance begin and a return to the ancient paths where one learns to bow the knee and, once there, bows lower still.

And stays there.

Children are dying. They’ve been dying a long time, long before yesterday’s shedding of blood. For decades, blood has run freely upon the pelvic floors of millions of women, trickling down the gloved hands of the salaried few. Smokestacks testify to their evil deeds. Outraged, the conscientious rally to expose them. God has heard the screams of both while men faint for what judgment is coming upon the earth. The sirens have been sounding for a long time. Rebellion. Disorder. Disregard for Divine authority. We are now post-alarm. The deaf do not hear the message: the life of the flesh is in the blood.

But for those who have ears, so can be heard Malachi’s prophetic cry:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV)

Children need fathers who will bow the knee to find strength to carry their sons. Divine authority begins with submission, Divine order ends in blessing. But the redefinition and subsequent obliteration of the family does not. Such weighty realities are ours to face if we’re to endure this illustrative age — in what has become a bowl of rotten fruit on a table where maggots lay their eggs.

This, America’s death culture, upon which the multitudes feast has come to bear the revelation of a fatherless generation.

May we bow the knee, then bow lower still. Find true north.

Perhaps we may heal.