Once Again, Lives Changed in a Single Moment; Colorado Shootings Are a Reminder That Evil Is Still with Us, but So Is Good; RELIGION

Article excerpt

Friday's midnight shooting at a Colorado movie theater reminded me of how single actions ripple across our lives like circles across a pond. As hundreds of thousands of people head out to see "The Dark Knight Rises" this weekend, each will be mindful of what happened. Parents of teenagers working at movie theaters will wonder about their kids' safety. Unanswered calls and text messages will create worry. Eyes will scan theaters for things that look out of place. Suspicion and fear will cost us far more than overpriced popcorn.

Once again, our lives changed in a single moment, at the hands of a single person.

That is the first thought that comes to mind on this hot summer's day. Evil is still with us, rearing its ugly head and causing innocents to suffer. Just a few miles from Columbine High School, violence struck again. No more shall the coming of age ritual of watching a summer blockbuster remain inside the illusory bubble of safety. One man, one moment, one midnight act of terror changed that forever.

On a hot summer evening decades ago, I gained enough nerve to ask a girl to a movie. It was a big date, big enough to cause me to clean the family car without being asked. For this first real date, I put on my straight-legged Levi 501's, an outlandish polyester shirt and a generous splash of English Leather cologne. As I headed out the door, I turned to my parents and said, "I'm headed to a movie." No explanation was offered - or expected.

As a dad, I can't imagine that happening today.

The second thought that comes to my mind is that evil leaves us speechless. The chaos of terror knocks us off balance. And when persons of faith do speak, too often it is in trite phrases that do not bring comfort or hope, no matter how well intentioned. We would do well to remain silent for a while, listening for God's whispers of hope.

The prophet Elijah, we are told, flees for his life in 1 Kings 19, running to a cave. He is hemmed in by disaster and murderous threats. In the cave, he watches as a powerful wind passes by, followed by a violent earthquake, and then a fire. …