I never thought that my first official act as moderator of Presbytery would be writing a pastoral letter.  With the tragedies in Houston, in Florida, and in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, with the terrorist acts in Canada and Marseille, we have become somewhat numb. But with such an act of violence right in our back yard, in Las Vegas, it is no longer possible to be numb anymore.

As I write this we still don’t know why this man opened fire on the Route 91 Country Harvest Festival, but there cannot be any reason that makes sense. What we know that is 59 are dead and hundreds are wounded and we don’t know how many are in shock.

Tonight there are prayer vigils in churches all around the state and this is a good thing. Much prayer will be needed for the victims and their families. As Christians we know how important is our response to this tragedy

Today I heard for the first time a song “Dear Hate” that was written by two country artists Maren Morris and Vince Gill and released today in response to this shooting. She reminds us hate was with us in the beginning in the Garden. But she also reminds us Love was there too, and Love will always overcome hate.

As Christians we know that Jesus our Lord will overcome every tragedy. This we know! But that is going to be difficult for those victims to believe that right now. With the large number of victims and family members, there is a certainty that some will be known to members of our churches and may even be members of our churches. I know that on my Facebook account three of my Friends in Las Vegas posted a safe status which leads me to suspect they were there. We will all be affected somehow.

We all will want to help in some way. Pray, pray a lot. Some can give blood and help in other ways. And all of us can believe. Those victims and their families have a lot to deal with right now. And they need the comfort that Jesus provides us. Many of them will not be able to see that comfort right now. But we can and we can believe for them.

We know that there will be pain and tragedy and despair. But we also know Jesus can overcome all of that. So please join me in believing in Jesus. Please join me in holding up that belief for all those who can’t quite have that faith right now.

The Rev. Bob Kelley
Presbytery of Nevada