Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Power of One

"On April 20, 1999, two boys went to their high school with bombs and guns. Their goal was to leave 'a lasting impression on the world'. The horror they inflicted left an indelible stamp on the American psyche."-- excerpt from "Columbine" by Dave Cullen.

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. I recently purchased a copy of the "Columbine" book, which was painstakingly written by the author over a period of many years, and based on hundreds of witness interviews, thousands of pages of police files, and the two killers' own videotapes and diaries.

I have not yet finished the book, but what has already struck me in reading it, is how quickly we as humans, when confronted with an event so tragic, so unspeakably horrible, try to categorize it, explain it, label it, make some sense out of so much senseless violence. This is shown in many ways by the author, as he details how CNN and so many media outlets, got the early reports of this story completely wrong.

I just want to shout out sometimes when reading it, "Wake up people! Evil is REAL and it is alive and well in the world today!" Sometimes the only explanation of such senseless violence and killings is that we know ultimately who is responsible, behind the scenes. We know who is dancing around and laughing in merciless glee at such terror unleashed yet again on another corner of our world.

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.-- 1 Peter 5:8-9

I would like to dedicate my post on the blog today to those 13 victims of the Columbine shootings on that fateful day, so many Aprils ago. To one in particular: Rachel Joy Scott.

Rachel Scott was the very first victim of the shootings that day. Though she was only 17 at the time of her death, she had a very strong faith in God and wanted to be a light in the dark places within her high school. To be a light by shining the bright light of Jesus Christ... She wanted to watch out for those who might be bullied, to include those who might not otherwise be included. Rachel often wrote to God in her diaries about wanting to "reach the unreached". She begged God for the chance to show others the way.. to let her life have purpose by pointing others to Him.

Jesus only walked this Earth for a short while, as well. In His days here, He would usually not be found hanging out with the "popular crowd" of the times. Rather, He also came to "reach the unreached", to love the unloveable, to embrace those on whom others had turned their backs. Rachel sought to be like Him.

After her death, Rachel's family found an essay she'd written earlier in the year, for her 5th period class. In the essay, she explained, "I have this theory. If just one person could go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know just how far a little kindness can go."

Her family also found a drawing she'd done when she was only 13 years old, on the back of her dresser. Rachel had traced the outline of both of her hands, and within the outline she'd written, "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people's hearts."

Many of you may have heard of a program that was started in schools, in Rachel's memory, called "Rachel's Challenge". The program encourages students to reach out to others, to be kind and to show compassion.

On May 6, 2010, an amazing event will occur in our community of McKinney, Texas. McKinney Independent School District now has ten elementary schools that are participating in the Rachel's Challenge program. On the evening of May 6, from 6:30-7:30 pm at Ron Poe Stadium, McKinney I.S.D. will sponsor a "Rachel's Challenge Rally".

If you are anywhere in or around the McKinney area, I cannot urge you strongly enough to attend this Rally. You will see & hear amazing things.. and your life will never be the same. Just to give you some idea, a few years ago, as the first of these Rallies were being held, Rockwall I.S.D. students walked into a rally at their stadium, carrying three miles of paper link chains to an overflow crowd. Each link in the chains represented a kind act that one student had done for another.

Please come. You will be inspired by Rachel's story and by seeing how it has impacted so many students and their families.

Who knows... you just may start a chain reaction...

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