Just three and a half hours after a life-changing lockdown was announced, the SPU community met to pray.
Almost 1,000 people filled First Free Methodist Church in the pews, the balcony and extra chairs on the stage. They stood in the foyer and along the walls of the sanctuary. When there was no more space, students chose to pray in Tiffany Loop instead.
Bob Zurinsky, assistant director of university ministries, led the service. “We have experienced something on our campus today that has wounded us, some of us more than others,” Zurinsky said. “And that will take a great deal of time for us to work through.”
Zurinsky said that the night was not a time for explanations or closure. “Tonight is a time to simply be together, immersed in the words of our faith,” Zurinsky said.
The service included readings of Scripture, worship songs and prayer.
Professor of Theology Frank Spina gave a short message, speaking about the importance of feeling pain before healing. “God will be with you, but you can’t get there too soon,” Spina said. “Comfort cannot bypass lament.”
Spina discussed Psalms 22 and 23, saying that the frustration and anger of Psalm 22 must be endured before arriving at the hope of Psalm 23.
“Give thanks for the comfort, embrace the hope, don’t give up on the Resurrection,” Spina said. “But don’t go there so quickly that you cheapen it and that you don’t realize the cost that’s involved, and that you don’t accept the pain, the hurt, that calls for lament.”