This morning on Reddit, one of the trending posts on the platform was the body-cam footage of police officers storming a building.ย 

I viewed the clip on the way to work, and was saddened, angry and horrified to see that yet another shooting in America had occured.

This time it was in Nashville, at a private Christian school. I don’t want to watch the video again, nor would I advise you to, so I’ll sum up what happens inside it.

Clearing each corridor smoothly, a team of officers bravely move through the school towards the gunfire โ€“ passing a dead child in the hallway โ€“ before locating the shooter on the second floor and shooting her dead.

Curtis McDowell, who lives near the school, walks away after placing flowers outside of Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, March 27, 2023. Three children and three school staff members were killed by a 28-year-old former student who was killed by police at the scene. Image source: Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean.

There is a kindergarten beneath our little office, where you’re able to see the cutest children and their parents play for a bit before school starts around eight.ย 

As I made my way to the office, I walked by them and felt even more sickened by what happened in Nashville.ย 

Even now as I write this, I am literally watching from my office window, little ones being brought into that kindergarten.

Some are carried in, still sleeping in their parents’ slings. Others are toddling along with their hands held by mum and dad. They’re adorable and precious.

It really turns my gut to think about the three children (and also the three adults) shot dead yesterday, especially the little one in the corridor that the officers moved past, between walls filled with children’s drawings.

One of the young victims, Hallie Scruggs, was also the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church’s (the School is its ministry) lead pastor, Chad Scruggs.

If I were a parent in the United States, I don’t know how I’d take my children to school this morning.

What I actually am, however, is an outsider. And as an outsider looking in once more, it all still seems insane โ€“ and maybe even a little hopeless too.

Is it the guns? Is it the gun laws? Is it the voters who enable this? Is it the people who don’t vote? Is it a mental health crisis?ย 

I’ve got nothing. All I’ve really got โ€“ sitting some 15,000km away from Nashville โ€“ is reflection and prayer. And so, that’s what I’ll do.

Pray for protection and change

I marvelled at the precision with which the police officers stormed the school.

They received calls about the shooter at 10:13am, and neutralised the target by 10:27. That’s 14 minutes, a show of rapid, decisive and effective force quite unlike Uvalde.

Thank God, for brave officers like these who stepped up to put an end to the shootings.

Pray also that God will raise up many more mighty protectors, who will righteously uphold safety and security especially for the weakest.

Police outside the School. Image source: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Whichever “side” one stands on in America, there’s no denying there’s a gun problem.

With the words God places in your heart, pray for change in the land at every level.ย 

Pray for God to raise up men and women who will put an end to the gun violence plaguing the land.

Pray that God would raise up people who will work for the coming day when parents will not fear dropping their kids at school, and when children will not be anxious about being in the classroom.ย 

A group of girls leave after a prayer vigil at Woodmont Christian Church for victims of the mass shooting at Covenant School on Monday, March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Image source: Mark Zaleski / The Tennessean.

Pray for the grieving

The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, shared that one of the victims was close to his wife Maria.

Indeed, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak (61) was supposed to have dinner with the Lees that Monday evening.

Another victim, Katherine Koonce (60) โ€“ the head of The Covenant School โ€“ was also a long-time family friend to the Lees.

Nevertheless, this is what Governor Lee had to say: โ€œThere is hope in the midst of great tragedy because God is a redeemer. What is meant for evil can be turned for good.

“May we grieve in the days ahead, but not without hope. May we also act with wisdom, discernment, and grace. And may we love, especially those who have lost.โ€ย 

People hugging during a prayer vigil at Woodmont Christian Church for victims of the mass shooting at Covenant School on Monday, March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. Image source: Mark Zaleski / The Tennessean.

In Nashville, there are seven families now who are especially swept up in a whirlwind of grief. We must pray for them, as well as the families of the wider community.

Pray that God would begin to show His redemptive power in Nashville. Pray that God would turn what is meant for evil, into something good.

Pray that the Holy Spirit would touch all who are grieving to bring them a special peace.

One of the young victims, Hallie Scruggs, was also the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church’s (the School is its ministry) lead pastor, Chad Scruggs.

Say a special prayer also for Pastor Scruggs and his family, as he navigates this excruciating event.

Let go of resentment

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake mentioned “resentment” as one of the shooter’s possible motives.ย 

I may not know exactly how different factors in American society come together to produce gun violence, but I do know this shooting happened because of a human factor โ€“ sin.

Someone had allowed herself to become consumed with hatred, and she gave herself over to destruction and the deaths of innocents.

The Word of God warns against resentment (Ephesians 4:31, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

We are to be watchful for roots of bitterness that spring up (Hebrews 12:15).ย We are not called to hold grudges, we are called to forgive (Ephesians 4:32).

Beyond praying for others, let us also watch our lives and tend to our relationships, knowing that the same darkness in a school shooter’s heart exists all too easily in our own where we fail to rip it out.

Nashville sits in dark days, but what happened in the hallways of The Covenant School shall not forever darken Tennessee.

Pray, that the light of God would shine in the city.