There IS A Balm in Gilead

Note:  As of this writing, there was a shooting today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  28 people have been killed, 20 of those were children who attended the school.  The person responsible for the shooting is identified as the 20-year-old son of a kindergarten teacher at the school.  She is one of those found dead.

A co-worker and I receive up-to-the-minute news via our cell phones and tablets.  Quite often, she receives news before I do.  Today, she quietly leaned over the wall separating our cubicles and said, “there’s been a shooting…at a school.  20 people are dead”.  For some reason, in my mind, I thought it must have been at a high school.  Until I found out it was an elementary school.

In a post-Columbine society, we are familiar with these types of tragedies.  They usually involve a high school or college campus.  And they usually involve someone in their late teens or early twenties.  And the victims usually fall into the same age range.  But today,  it suddenly hit me some of the victims were under the age of 12.   Some may have been as young as 5 years old.

Why?  I couldn’t even imagine the circumstance of why this would occur.

The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.  And the more I thought about it, I thought about the children.  And the more I thought about it, I thought about the parents of those children.  Their level of grief, anger and sadness must be immense and overwhelming.

I sat at my desk…just thinking about it…thinking about it.

I had to go to the bathroom.  But before returning to my workspace, I decided I needed some time to meditate and pray.  So I went to a stairwell.  I sat at the top of the stairs and just sat.  Still.  Quiet.  Then, I prayed.

As I meditated, a phrase came to me….”There is a Balm in Gilead”.

Balm of Gilead

The Balm of Gilead refers to a liniment or topical agent applied to the skin for healing purposes.  The actual tree of origin is a hybrid of the balsam popular and Eastern cottonwood.

“There is a  Balm IN Gilead” refers to a traditional African-American spiritual.  It refers to a spiritual medicine in the Old Testament.  Salvation through Jesus Christ is the point of reference in the New Testament.

There IS a Balm in Gilead…and healing is needed…in the mind, in the hearts and the souls of so many people.  This is probably not the time for talks of gun control rights and the power of political parties.  This is the time to pray, to reach out to all those who are hurting, to hug your children and loved ones…to stop for a moment, in stillness and silence.  Despite all evidence of evil, there is still hope.  And there’s always love.

When you get home today, gather up your family.  Turn off the TV and cell phones.  And just be with each other for a few moments.  Hold each others hands and hug each other. Open the door to allow God’s spiritual blessings and spiritual healing to fill and surround you.

Open the door to discuss what has happened today.  Talk about your feelings about what has happened.  And talk about how to handle life’s stresses and disappointments in the best ways possible.

Open another door to a dialogue about how important you are to each other, how much you value each family member’s existence and presence.

And finally, say a prayer to God for yourselves, for the families and for the children.

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.
Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.
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