Everyone should live in an apartment next to a cemetery at least once in their life.

Nothing grounds the immortal hubris of twenty-somethings like marble gravestones on your way to class. At my university, all upperclassmen housing rests on the hill between the campus and the cemetery, and my place is no different. To me, it is a sober reminder that life is unequivocally dogged by death.

I was driving past those headstones when I first heard about the shooting in Nashville. Six innocent lives were taken. Six dinner tables now hold a vacuously empty chair. Six families now weep for their loved one, until eternity’s light unites them again.

The depravity of the situation was only compounded by the national response to it.

President Biden thought it fitting to open his first public statement since the tragedy with a bit of stand-up, introducing himself as “Dr. Jill Biden’s husband” and looking for some chocolate chip ice cream. After two minutes of this routine, he finally addressed the Nashville shooting. Though he did not even know the number or ages of the victims, the president called on Congress to pass his assault weapons ban. Only after all this clownery did he express his sympathy for parents affected.

Since this shooting at a Christian elementary school, by a transgender person, a woman who identified as a man, the White House has yet to publicly acknowledge the explicit creed of the institution targeted. 

Needless to say, were this shooting at a mosque or synagogue, the assumed anti-religion motive would be clearly publicized by the media and officials.

Not only has the White House largely minimized the tragedy at this Christian school, but also disregarded any sense of reality when speaking of and about the identity of the killer.

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To start, the government’s unapologetic and tone-deaf celebration of a national Transgender Day of Visibility should jar anyone with empathy.

Biden visited none of the six victims’ families. Instead, he supported trans activists who would like us to consider the number of victims to be seven.

Rather than acknowledging the massacre that has been committed against innocent children, Biden’s press secretary condemned the “relentless attacks from Republicans across the country” toward the transgender community.

Villain is counted victim, while genuine victims are pushed aside and forgotten.

Because they do not fit the narrative.

Covenant Presbyterian Church, the congregation connected to the school, held its first worship service last Sunday since the tragedy. One of the 9-year-old victims was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, senior pastor at this church.

In his sermon from the book of Luke, Rev. Billy Barnes spoke of Jesus walking with his grieving disciples on the road to Emmaus.

“We are all on the road to Emmaus together right now,” the minister choked. “He is with us. And He will be until the end of the age. And He is risen.”

As we consider the tragic state of our world, let us consider it in the shadow of the cross. Let us consider it in the deep darkness that covered the world on Good Friday more than two thousand years ago.

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All around us, the world seems to ask, “What is our hope in life and in death?” The Heidelberg catechism instructs us to respond, “That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, both in life and in death, to God and to my Savior Jesus Christ.”

We are promised in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

This weekend we join the women weeping at the foot of the cross. And we follow them to the tomb. We weep for a world in desperate need of a King, a Savior.

But we also remember that Good Friday is always dogged by Resurrection Sunday. So too, our own lives do not end in death, but in the resurrection of the dead. Our hope cannot be destroyed by guns and grief. Our hope has risen and is eternally seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

Our God rose from the garden tomb. And we follow in his train, out of the cemetery, and into the world to make all things new.

So though tragedy may assail us on every side, though darkness may be crowding in, though the shadow of the cross may seem too deep to bear, may we be so bold as to pronounce with John Donne, “Death thou shalt die.”

Catie Robertson is an intern with the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Government.

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