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The Response of Christ

December 14, 2007

created: 12/12/2007 11:11:33 AM

Last updated: 12/12/2007 7:57:08 PM

I think we are often given the opportunity to respond as Christ would have, yet I know often  I fail in even insignificant opportunities.  I am very sorry for their losses, yet I gain from observing Christ in them. 

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Matthew Murray. Photo courtesy Richard Werner/CNN iReport

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    DENVER – The parents of the gunman who opened fire in two Colorado religious center shootings on Sunday released two statements on Wednesday.

    The second statement was made after the family of 24-year-old Matthew Murray met with the families of victims of his shooting spree in Arvada. On Sunday, Murray killed a total of four people and wounded five others in both Arvada and Colorado Springs before he took his own life.

    Here is the second statement in full:

    This afternoon, Ron and Loretta Murray met privately with members of the families of Tiffany Johnson and Philip Crouse. The Murray’s time with each family lasted approximately one hour and took place at an undisclosed location close to the YWAM campus. The two families prayed together and wept together. The Crouse and Johnson families offered the Murrays their love and Matthew Murray their forgiveness.

    Prior to their meeting, Matthew Murray’s uncle, Pastor Philip Abeyta, spent private time at the YWAM campus with members of the Johnson and Crouse families who also offered their prayers, love and forgiveness to Matthew Murray and the Murray family.

    “The entire Murray family is overwhelmed by this act of Christian love and forgiveness, said Philip Abeyta, pastor of His Love Fellowship Church and Matthew Murray’s uncle. “Matthew’s parents, Ron and Loretta, are humbled beyond words and deeply grateful to the families of God’s children, Tiffany Johnson and Phillip Crouse, for taking this extraordinary step to begin the process of healing and reconciliation. What an incredible example of the power of God’s love.”

    In response to hundreds of inquiries, the Murray family very humbly requests that any memorial donations made on their behalf in lieu of flowers be directed to King’s Kids Denver, a youth ministry program affiliated with YWAM. Matthew Murray was a program participant and, later, an active volunteer with King’s Kids. Donations may be mailed to King’s Kids Denver, 7754 Holland Court, Arvada, Colorado 80005. For more information on King’s Kids, please visit www.kkdenver.org.

    The second statement came after the Murray’s released an initial statement on Wednesday morning. That statement is listed in full below:

    STATEMENT FROM RONALD & LORETTA MURRAY
    PARENTS OF MATTHEW MURRAY

    Out of respect for the grieving families of the victims of this unthinkable tragedy, our family will not be making any statements to the press until funeral services for all the victims have concluded. Our thoughts and constant prayers are with the families of Stephanie and Rachel Works, Phillip Crouse and Tiffany Johnson as well as those who were injured in the shootings. We also are praying for the congregations at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, home of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and all of the dedicated young people at YWAM.

    We are lost in grief as we prepare to bury our beloved son, Matthew. We loved Matthew with all our hearts, and we are groping for answers as we try in vain to understand the events of last Sunday. We pray that God will be with our family through the days and weeks ahead and that He will also be with the families of those who have died and those who were injured.

    Our deepest gratitude goes out to those who have offered their love and support through this very difficult time, particularly our fellow parishioners at His Love Fellowship Church and the leadership at New Life Church and YWAM. The congregation at His Love Fellowship Church held a prayer service for all the victims last night. We were deeply moved by that. More than 100 people gathered to pray for the victims. We asked that the service be opened with the following scripture passage and it was read by Philip Abeyta, pastor at His Love Fellowship Church and Loretta’s brother-in-law:

    First Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verses 1-13:
    If I can speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but am destitute of Love, I have but become a loud-sounding trumpet or a clanging cymbal.

    If I possess the gift of prophecy and am versed in all mysteries and all knowledge, and have such absolute faith that I can remove mountains, but am destitute of Love, I am nothing.

    And if I distribute all my possessions to the poor, and give up my body to be burned, but am destitute of Love, it profits me nothing.

    Love is patient and kind. Love knows neither envy nor jealousy. Love is not forward and self-assertive, nor boastful and conceited.

    She does not behave unbecomingly, nor seek to aggrandize herself, nor blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs.

    She finds no pleasure in injustice done to others, but sides with the truth.

    She knows how to be silent. She is full of trust, full of hope, full of patient endurance.
    Love never fails.

    But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if there are languages, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be brought to an end.

    For our knowledge is imperfect, and so is our prophesying;

    But when the perfect state of things is come, all that is imperfect will be brought to an end.

    When I was a child, I talked like a child, felt like a child, reasoned like a child: when I became a man, I put from me childish ways.

    For the present we see things as if in a mirror, and are puzzled; but then we shall see them face to face. For the present the knowledge I gain is imperfect; but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    And so there remain Faith, Hope, Love–these three; and of these the greatest is Love.

    Services for our son, Matthew, will be held later this week and will be private services for family and close friends.

    (Copyright KUSA*TV, All Right Reserved)

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