Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Hook Elementary School’

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The recent violence at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shattered the lives of individuals and families connected to that school and town, and shocked countless others throughout our nation and around the world.

Amid the grief, sorrow, and horror that we feel over the loss of these students and teachers, there is an urgent longing in the hearts of many of us for a safer society as we struggle to make sense of this violence, especially since it occurred during a holy season in which we are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Christ child who came to bring peace on earth.

For several weeks before the massacre, our choir had been rehearsing music to celebrate the joyful Christmas story, and one anthem in particular had stirred in me a longing for a closer, more intimate relationship with God. In the days following the massacre, the anthem, “The Yearning,” became even more significant to me because it spoke to the grief and sorrow that we’re experiencing.

Written by Susan Bentall Boersma, with music by Craig Courtney, “The Yearning” expresses the following:

There is a yearning in hearts weighed down by ancient grief
and centuries of sorrow. 
There is a yearning in hearts that in the darkness hide
and in the shades of death abide,
a yearning for tomorrow.

There is a yearning, a yearning for the promised One,
the First-born of creation. 
There is a yearning for the Lord who visited His own,
and by His death for sin atoned, to bring to us salvation.

Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.

There is a yearning that fills the hearts of those who wait the day of His appearing. 
There is a yearning when all our sorrows are erased
and we shall see the One who placed within our hearts the yearning.

Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, within our hearts the yearning.

This anthem resonates with me because it reminds us that in a world in which we are often confronted with pain, sorrow, grief, and death, we have God’s assurance that in Jesus Emmanuel—“God is with us” (Matthew 1:22-23).

It reminds us that the yearnings that we have had as a human race since ancient times have been yearnings for God who alone who can fill the void within our souls.

It reminds us that God took on the form of humanity and appeared to us as a baby who grew up to become the promised One—the Messiah who would sacrifice his life to save us so that we would not have to pay the eternal penalty for our sins.

It reminds us that we yearn for the day when Jesus Emmanuel will appear again, not as a babe in a manger, but as the triumphant “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelations 19:16) to establish a new heaven and new earth for all his redeemed people throughout the ages, a divine Kingdom in which there will be no pain, sickness, sorrow, death, or evil.

It reminds us of Jesus’ promise:

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22: 7, 12-13; NLT, 2007)

And it reminds us that as our nation mourns the death of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook School and debates how to stem the gun violence, we yearn for the promised fulfillment of Christ’s imminent return to establish his Kingdom of peace on earth.

And we echo the Apostle John’s yearning and benediction:

“Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelations 22:20, NLT)

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