I am not happy about some Christians' views on this. I went to bed, after seeing all those, "How can we expect G-d to protect us in school if we have taken him out of those very institutions," posts. I was mad. How can the adults believe that. Not just adults. Christian adults. Where is your faith, people??? That is not what the Christian religion teaches us. And beyond that, you are certainly causing your children to rethink the way they see our Heavenly Father.
First, there is the first lesson of any Christian Bible, and it begins in the Old Testament. It's called "free will." If you don't know what that means, essentially, it's a thing created by G-d, Himself, that allows us to make mistakes. Lots of them. Varying degrees of them. And while the specifics to this case are not relevant to my point, I will say, with certainty, someone prayed, and G-d was with them. And with certainty, someone else there probably did not pray, and He was with them, too.
We can't keep Him out of any place. We believe that He is the maker of heaven and earth. We believe He is the the Father Almighty. I mean, as a Catholic, we have a creed. I am not even making this up. The truth is, I believe. And yet, it's no different than my parents' home- a Jewish home. And yet, while the Jewish faith should have been enough to keep Jesus out of the family, Jesus found me, and no amount of Hebrew school, matzo ball soup, or dreidels was going to keep G-d's only son, my Lord, Jesus Christ, out of my life.
One day, when I was in my early 20's, while I was still in my discernment period of my beliefs, I was dabbling with Catholic prayer, and was saying a rosary. I was living in a Jewish home, and you might think, "What is a Catholic specific prayer doing in a Jewish home? Can't be. Christian things are not "allowed" there." Well, true. They were not "allowed." That didn't stop me from saying it, or having my mom knock on my bedroom door, and just walk in on me shoving my rosary beads into my lap, under the bed covers. Years later, I knew that conversation would prove funny, and when she asked about that time she walked in on me, she was devastated to learn that I was actually saying a prayer, and NOT what she thought she walked in on. (I might be hairy, but my palms are noticeably hairless. ) I was still living at home, and one day, my dad got in my car to shuffle it in the driveway to maneuver another car out, and upon turning the car on, he got blasted with the tag line to my radio station, the newest radio station of the time, called , "104.7, The Fish." He came back in, and questioned me. I just said, "It makes me feel good." I had not converted at that point. It took years to finally convert, but I was still trying to figure it all out. He was not happy. He knew something was not "right." "Right," being Jewish.
This past week, I was at the school for both of my childrens' holiday parties. Yes, notice the word "holiday." Yet again, keeping the word "Christmas" out of the school, must mean that we did not do anything related to the Christian religion. If by making "Reindeer" food, candy cane reindeer ornaments, Santa Claus ornaments, snowmen inspired decorative milk jugs, and reindeer decorated hot chocolate mixes- sure. You can say that. Since none of that has anything to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, I guess that was a safe title. However, I might be wrong, but aren't those symbols things we use to relate to the Christian holiday called, "Christmas?" I arrived to my daughter's class, and tried to enter the classroom. The door was closed. AND locked. I looked through the small window, and knocked, and another parent that came for the party came and let me in. I joked about how it felt a little like Fort Knox. I'm not joking now. I am comforted.
We don't have control of everyone around us. We can't stop the mentally ill. We can be in prayer, but I think that it really is ALL of our responsibility to try to help identify people who are mentally ill. What happened Friday was a sad case of a mentally unstable person doing something that had this horrible and tragic ending. Does it mean that G-d wasn't there? No. He was. He was there in the teacher that pulled a child from gun fire, in the closet they barricaded themselves in, the police, firemen, ambulance workers, and other public responders that arrived shortly after it all began. G-d is there, and we need to stop placing blame, and instead, pray for those who are mentally ill, and pray for that community. Please think about how you think, Facebook post, and talk. Especially around your children. There is no need to minimize G-d's love for us, or abilities, because you are naive to think that while school prayer has been removed from the scheduled school day, that He can't be with us. G-d is in church, and even there, bad things CAN happen. I eat lunch with my children each week at school. And guess what... I bow my head and pray with my children, and no one has ever asked me to stop.© 2012 Erin Ahrens @adventureswithahrens.blogspot.com