Seldom am I speechless but when I first heard about the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, I sat in stunned silence. I watched the news unfold and was rattled to the core. As the story spread far and wide I thought how untrue is the familiar saying “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” All of a sudden what happened in Vegas captured the hearts, minds and collective soul of our nation and beyond. Millions of tear-filled eyes spilled over in heart-wrenching, gut-sickening anguish. In the horror of it all, we as a nation and beyond mourned and grieved as we cried out for the people who were directly involved in the shooting. Over the last week I’ve ached and prayed. And then ached and prayed some more. Like you, I’ve tried to process the tragedy and the loss, the evil and destruction. Now, a little over a week later, I’m repulsed by the massacre but held in awe of those many heroes who emerged like beacons of light, those who sacrificed their own lives to save another. I marvel even now as I recall example after example.
The husband who shielded his wife. The stranger who sheltered two young girls who themselves survived but who still wonder today if their hero was spared. The first responders who ran into the chaos despite the danger and the medical teams who worked tirelessly providing invaluable medical attention. True stories of real life heroes. Some sacrificed their lives figuratively, others literally while those who could waited in long lines to give their own blood.
After the shooting, we all searched for some explanation, some possible motive for the massacre. But today, I’m more thinking about the love that motivated those who gave. The unshakeable love that dawned in Vegas, a holy goodness that could only have been inspired by love. I applaud the folks who were willing to lay down their lives for strangers, family members and friends alike. The good that happened in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas.
Instead, the selfless giving that happened in Vegas should give us pause to consider our own willingness to give. Today as you remember the lives lost and those sacrificed, will you stop and say a prayer for the people directly impacted by the tragedy in Vegas? Now consider your own life for a moment. Think about your circle of influence. In what ways would you be willing to lay down your life for a friend?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16