Ambush The Innocent1
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit" ... my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Proverbs 1:10 ff.
What are Christians to make of mass murder such as our nation, and the world, have seen so much of in recent years: most lately last evening in Las Vegas? Rather than re-invent the wheel I commend to you a fine article by former pastor and seminary professor, Chad Bird. I will add only a few points of my own.
What are Christians to do?
First, let us remember that this is what life is like in a sin-filled world. Sin has compromised all men, and in keeping with our doctrine of original sin we should realize that there is no bottom to human behavior. While many things sicken and revolt us, they should not surprise us. But nor should we succumb to them. Solomon in the above verse gives humanity a solemn warning against shedding of innocent blood. And thank God for it! Because it is a divine word, it contains the power to accomplish what it says, to keep us from walking in the paths of evil men.
What is the church to do in the face of such evil? Stay the course. Teach the divine word, and call men to repentance. Baptize, teach, absolve and feed all who will answer the call with the Bread of Life.
The church should continue to pray for justice and peace in the world. We do this every Sunday in the prayers of the church which are as indispensible to the Eucharistic Feast as the words of institution themselves. Such prayers suppress evil as nitrogen suppresses fire, and grant men healing from their loss.
The church further intercedes for the world as often as she prays, "deliver us from evil." Always remembering that Jesus delivered himself into evil, to deliver us from it. And rescued we are, and so "whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14:8)
Let us remember, too, that "our life is a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes." (James 4:14) And so we should always be prepared to die. That comes by baptism, and by hearty faith in the Lord's death and resurrection which justifies us before God, purifies us of our sins, and promises us life everlasting.
And as a matter of practicality let us always be careful because life is a precious gift. You may chose to give your life away for the love of others, even as our Lord did. "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." (John 15:13). Jesus the the Man, you are the friend.
Give it away if you must, but never throw it away. Never let it be torn away by evil men if you can help it. Self defense is not a sin, but a virtue. And so not only should we always be careful, but be prepared as well.
"Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, till all the world adore, his sacred name."