Once again, our country has awakened to a horrifying spectacle of death. We are told that this latest massacre, in Las Vegas, NV, is the worst mass shooting in modern American history—surpassing the previous outrage of 15 months ago, in Orlando, FL.
Once again, a culture that prides itself on its defiant cleverness—on its “liberation” from traditional religion and morality—looks in vain for a way to explain these mass killings, and the frequency with which they disfigure our national life. Both the killings themselves, and the routinely ineffectual reaction to them, say something deeply troubling about our society.
Once again, our public figures—in the media, politics, the academy and the arts—seem inadequate to the task of binding our fragmented citizenry together. In the moment of crisis, with all eyes upon them, they offer verbal gestures in the unifying language of faith. But at every other moment they insist on marginalizing that faith in our public discourse.
In the face of the motiveless evil, the contempt for human life, that we witnessed again this week, we might draw upon the deep experience of our Armenian Christian heritage—and offer its wisdom to our fellow Americans.
As Armenian Christians, it does not come as news to us that the world is a disordered place. We know—from experience—that Evil is abroad among us; that the world is a veil of tears. We believe that to save His children, God sent His only Son to live among us and suffer the ills of this world. That Son, Jesus Christ, triumphed over evil, sin, and death—and shares his triumph with everyone willing to grasp his rescuing hand in faith and love.
As Armenian Christians, we assert the spiritual truth that every person who fell in Las Vegas is a human soul, precious to God, and connected to loved ones who are now suffering the deepest grief. We reach out with prayer in the midst of such suffering.
Finally, as Armenian Christians we are consoled that our risen Lord knows well the sufferings of his children, and will vindicate them when he returns to establish his kingdom. On that day Jesus Christ will “wipe away every tear” (Rev. 21); until then, we ask for his mercy on the world and on us, in the timeless sharagan of our Sourp Badarak:
“Lord, have mercy. All-holy Trinity, grant peace to the world. Bring healing to the sick, and thy kingdom to those at rest. Have mercy on us Jesus, our Savior. Through the holy, immortal, life-giving sacrifice, O Lord, receive and have mercy.”
—Christopher H. Zakian