LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People tend to the wounded outside the Route 91 Harvest Country music festival grounds after shooting on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Transitional Leader


Horrific. Unimaginable. Frightful. Gruesome. These are some of the adjectives that describe the scenes from Las Vegas, as America experiences another mass shooting. Over the next several days we will hear about the background of the shooter, and what may have motivated him to commit such a heinous crime. We will hear about hotel security, change in open air concerts, and gun control.
There have been over 1500 mass shootings (defined as four people or more being killed or injured) since Sandy Hook, where 20 children and 6 adults were murdered. Each person killed or injured in these shootings are part of a community of friends, family, and loved ones. The shock wave of pain ripples throughout, bringing grief and deep sadness.
In addition to the stories of terror, we will also hear stories of courage, compassion, and overwhelming kindness. These stories will speak of how people came to one another’s aid; people who were complete strangers and yet risked their well-being to help another. These stories act as a dam, breaking up to grief and sadness. These positive stories will help us to believe in the goodness of humanity. We are reminded that when called upon, we can be a light in darkness, and no matter how severe, frequent or persistent evil is in the world, it cannot overcome the light and life of goodness.
Perhaps this is what the gospel of John is speaking about when he writes, “In (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Through the grace of God, we have been given the gift of light. In what ways can our light shine when we face human tragedy, injustice, or evil? Sometimes it may mean helping someone right in front of us. Other times it may be a letter of encouragement, or a call to action. It may mean sharing a much needed hug, or participate in a march to show support. However we do it, and whenever we do it, we are called to bring our lights from under a bushel and set them on top of a hill.
Please pray for Las Vegas, and the many communities the concert goers represent.
Rev. Craig M. Howard


  • Posted October 3, 2017 3:24 pm
    Mike Willock

    You may have seen the story about the Las Vegas woman who could not give blood because of treatment for a medical condition, and then decided she would stand outside with a sign and give hugs. Lots of takers.

  • Posted October 3, 2017 4:26 pm
    Carleton Stock

    Thanks Howard for your thoughtful reflection on the massacre in Vegas. I appreciated Tony Messenger’s column and the editorial in the Post today calling for thoughts and prayers but also concrete action. Faith communities need to step up to address the root causes of these horrific events. Why are they often done by white men, for example? Can we make assault weapons less accessible and get out from under the control of the NRA? What is inherently wrong with our society that prompts actions like these? Do we dare ask serious questions about the viability of our economic, political and social systems and how they contradict living in the light? Perhaps we should study the early church before it was taken over by the “empire” and how they lived out the faith in the midst of sick institutions. Just some rambling reflections in these troubling times.

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