Colorado Community Church lost one of its members, Gordon Cowden, in the Aurora theater shooting. At its worship service this past Sunday, they prayed for the victims and their families, but they also prayed for the man who victimized them, James Holmes. This seems to me to be the appropriate Christian response to events like this (Matthew 5:43-48).
Pastor Robert Gelinas started Sunday’s service by asking how many in attendance were personally impacted by the tragedy. More than a dozen hands went up. In the aisles and pews, fellow worshipers huddled around those suffering the most.
“As we put our hands on their shoulders, let the spirit draw near and be closer to them than they ever imagined,” he said above loud sobs.
Gelinas had another request, which he admitted was “not going to be easy.” He asked his flock to pray for the alleged gunman, James Holmes, and his family.
“Only God is the righteous judge,” he said. “Only God knows how to blend justice and mercy and grace in perfect balance.
“We lift this man up before God, and say, ‘God, do what you need to do in this situation.'”
A few parishioners responded by quietly uttering “yes” and “amen.”