In midst of Moncton tragedy, Lutheran pastor points people to God’s love
UPDATE (June 8): After this article was first posted, Rev. David Milette was interviewed by CBC News on June 7 about caring for people in the aftermath of the Moncton shooting. In the seven-minute long interview, he again points people to the comfort of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same day, LCC’s National Convention meeting in Vancouver passed a resolution calling for prayer for the people of Moncton.
by Mathew Block
MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – Canadians greeted with relief the news that an alleged shooter in Moncton had been captured early Friday morning without further incident. Some parts of the city had been in lockdown since Wednesday evening, when Justin Bourque allegedly shot five police officers, killing three.
One of those unable to return home was Lutheran Church–Canada pastor, Rev. David Milette. Rev. Milette is pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Moncton, and his family lives a few houses away from where the shooting took place. While his family was all safe, he reported yesterday via Facebook, he was unable to return home to be with them during the lockdown, staying instead at the church near-by. “I feel almost like a sentry at the entrance to the neighbourhood,” he wrote yesterday, “defending it with my prayers to the One who can defend us, while the police defend it with their own bodies.”
“Please pray for our community, for the families of the slain RCMP officers, and for those still diligently searching for the gunman to put a stop to this terror and ensure our safety,” he continued. “The Lord Himself is the one who is our safety, and He has sent them to do this task—may He also give them success and quickly, for everyone’s benefit. And may the Lord who does miracles grant this gunman repentance too, both to not harm anyone else and for his own soul’s sake.”
At least part of Rev. Milette’s prayer was answered late Thursday, as Borque was arrested without further incident.
During the lockdown, media covered unfolding events from a street-corner near Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Rev. Milette was invited to speak on-camera with CTV News, airtime he used to share the love of God with the hurting.
“At times like this, people—particularly people of faith—often ask, ‘Why does it happen?’” the news reporter said to Rev. Milette. “How do you sort of square it with all the things you believe about life and goodness and so on?”
“That is the principle question that people come to,” Rev. Milette responded. “On the one hand it shows the brokenness and the fallenness and the mess that the world is in. It’s not something that can be completely escaped.”
“But we’re not without help, either,” he continued. “We’re not without rescue. So many people are praying, but as I keep telling people, we have a God who loves us and who loves to hear these prayers.”
Now that the tragedy has ended, Rev. Milette and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be wondering how best to comfort their community as it moves on. To that end, Lutheran Church–Canada asks its members and friends to remember the church and the city of Moncton in their prayers.
“Please pray for our little congregation and for me,” Rev. Milette wrote on Thursday, “that the Lord of Pentecost show us how to be useful to our neighbours with the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified, risen, ascended and reigning for us—which alone can truly comfort in such a world as we suddenly must acknowledge that we live in too. All is not okay with the world. But, ‘Take heart, for I have overcome the world,’ says our Redeemer.”