“Movie Night?” by Pastor Chris Hill, TPH-Denver

My nine year old son, Jonathon, bounced into our living room on thin brown legs that looked almost too skinny to hold up his tall 4′ 10″ frame.

He looked directly at me through his glasses and out of nowhere he said, “Dad, can we ever go back to the movies again?”

It is a question that caught me totally off-guard, even though I have been praying about and talking about this issue non-stop for the last four days.

Nevertheless, the question still shocks me.

As a father, I recognize that THE Question has finally come.

For days I have been talking to people in my Denver community who are collectively coping with a devastation that has gripped our city in an invisible choke-hold of grief.

People who are living each day in the aftermath of the Century Theatre 16 “Dark Knight Rising” mass-shooting that occurred in Aurora Colo, a  movie theatre, that is less than a five-minute drive from my home.

I have been preaching to my congregation about how they can overcome the initial shock of the tragedy and how to begin to walk through the anger that follows the shock.

We have been dealing with an unrequited anger over the senseless loss of 12 innocent people, and the 58 other injured people, some whose lives are still in peril.

The anger over an unspeakable damage done to ordinary people just going to the movies to see a children’s comic book played out on the silver screen

This anger comes from knowing that it could have been your child,  your spouse or you in that theatre when the gunmen entered.

We have been learning how to release that anger and we have been seeking to replace the emotion of anger with positive action, by helping our neighbors, holding our loved ones a little tighter and seeking peace in our prayer.

My church\’s professional grief counselors have been helping people of all ages talk out their pain and anger and my church\’s pastors have been helping people pray through their frustration and fears. But now THE Question has come home.

Will we ever be normal again?

Will we be able to have our monthly movie nights ever again?

Will my son and I be able to sit in a dark theatre with a bunch of total strangers and relax as we split a massive box of heavily buttered popcorn and an enormous drink with two straws and escape together into some CGI landscape without looking for some maniac to kick in the exit door, guns a-blazing?

Now it is my own son who looks up at me, with eyes that look just like mine, and he ask this question.

To him, I am not Pastor Chris Hill, the senior pastor of the Potter’s House of Denver.

To him, I am just “Dad.”

So, I kneeled down and snatched him up in my arms and I said to him, “You don’t need to worry about nothing son because I will be with you – wherever you go!”

I held him real tight and I promised him that fear wasn\’t going to stop us.

I told him that one day things were going to get back to normal.

But deep inside, I wondered if I was making an affirmative statement of fact from a father to his nine-year old son.

Or was I voicing yet another prayer as a son to my Heavenly Father?

Or perhaps it was a little bit of both.

____________

Pastor Chris Hill
Senior Pastor
The Potter’s House of Denver

 

EDITORIAL NOTE:  Pastor Chris Hill wrote this editorial following the mass shooting of 70 people at a movie theatre in Denver, CO. Dr. Chris Hill is senior pastor of The Potter\’s House of Denver, a non-denominational, multicultural church located just five miles outside of Aurora, CO. The church has opened its doors with daily prayer services that began at noon on July 20, the day of the shootings, and will continue indefinitely.
“Our hearts are overwhelmed with an inexplicable grief,” said Dr. Chris Hill, senior pastor at The Potter\’s House of Denver. “Our goal is to offer an oasis of comfort and compassion to the City of Aurora in her time of mourning, and to provide practical help and hope as our community struggles to make sense of such a tragic and senseless act.”
The massacre hit very close to home with nearly 60 percent of The Potter\’s House\’s members residing in Aurora, Colo. Some had attended the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight,” in theatre number nine while other parishioners had direct, personal connections to the victims.

 

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