That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.”
Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:
“Give glory to God in heaven,
and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God” (Luke 2:8-14).
As often as we quote these amazing promises, the signs of our times proclaim that “there is no peace on earth.” This year, we must bow our head in wonder at the gross event that happened in the elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut on December 14. While others are calling for gun control and more security in schools, parents of children who experience psychotic episodes are pleading that our nation will begin real reform in our mental health system regarding children and young adults who are prone to violent behavior.
Ministers and pastors within the disability community are filling Internet blogs and social networks with information and warnings that our health care system regarding psychotic young men is not broken but non-existent.
I am not an expert in this area. In fact, in my ministry, our members who are mentally challenged, are remarkably healthy in the area of mental health considering the rejection and ill-treatment they receive on an almost daily basis. Therefore, I do not speak as one who lives with the effects or desires to bring a measure of peace and health to this population. Yet, I do have a small voice and there is great need to speak.
The concern for many in the area of mental illness is that nationalized health care will not mean better care but less care. History speaks a prophetic work of more neglect as the government takes more and more power in the area of public health. As other populations have benefited, this segment of our nation has been overlooked more and more. This must not be. It has become clear that the lives and well-being of our most vulnerable populations are at risk.
Our prayers are extended to the families of the young ones who were killed. We also extended our prayers to the parents and children–who like this young shooter–suffer every day the torment and cruel effects of mental illness and psychotic behavior.
We pray that the peace of God will reign in the hearts and minds of all who seek the Lord.