NOTE:  This is NOT what i said at the vigil, just some of the prep work done before hand.  It can take a lot of study, writing, re-writing and prayer to speak at an event like this – without using notes.


My deepest appreciation to the City of Rio Grande City, Mayor Villarreal,  all of the city staff, departments and boards involved, the Boys and Girls Club of Rio Grande City, First Responders, The Life Magazine and everyone else involved in this wonderful and special vigil. 

Friday morning, December 15th, great evil visited Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.

 26 innocent lives were stolen from us that morning, long before their time and in a most violent manner.


We gain no profit by ignoring the truth of this attack, or in thinking it is too far away to impact us.


Evil has been with us since the very beginning and remains with us today.


We see evil in the Garden of Eden, with Judas and his 30 pieces of silver, in Hitler, McVeigh, Ben Laden and so many, many others.


God wants us to know and understand that there is evil present in our world….not so we would live in fear, but that we would know where to find peace.


Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep,…A time to mourn,…”


Psalm 34:17-18 “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.


Psalm 40:1-2  “I waited patiently for the Lord  to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”


What can we do?


We can come together as a community and pray for those affected by this tragedy.



Emergency responders

Community Leaders


We can come together as a community and take a stand against evil in all forms

  • No longer turning a deaf ear to cries for help
  • No longer shutting our door and turning up the TV so we don’t hear the screams
  • Making that call to the police
  • Be involved in your community


We can bind together as a community and lift up our only hope for stopping evil in its tracks.


We can put away bullying, anger, gossip and backbiting.



  •  We need more FAITH, HOPE and LOVE
    • The greatest of these is LOVE
  • Be committed to each other
  • Hold each other’s needs higher than our own
  • Be willing to help, to “stand in the gap” for those who need help Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Spiritually



  • Families in Conn: 
    • Hold each family member and hug them in close
    • Comfort the mourning
    • Restore hope where there is hopelessness
    • Restore peace where peace has been shattered
    • Restore faith where it has been shaken
    • Restore love where fear has taken hold
  • Families here in Rio Grande City
    • Pray our community would walk in faith  and not fear
    • Pray that this tragedy would draw us closer to You Lord, helping us realize our need for You.
    • Pray that we would watch out for one another and be willing to get involved in the lives of our neighbors and friends when we see signs of trouble.
    • That God would Protect the children and school staff
  • Protect our children       Protect our families      Bless our Country

Surrounded by the symbols of hope that can guide us to a future and a hope.


1.     A seat of Government
We need to rely on our government to lead
                                                              i.      Not just in laws and policy
                                                            ii.      But in confidence and preparedness
                                                          iii.      Government plays a key role in disaster response
Flooding and Freezing
Violence and Terrorism
2.     A Site of EducationEarlier today, Mayor Villarreal, some of the City Staff and I were here surveying the site for this evening.  Trying to get a feel for the emotion and needs of the evening
We saw the children playing at ICS then bounding out of school to head home.
I was struck by several emotions and thoughts
The joy of a child
The love of their parents
The reality that 20 kids and 6 adults will never play on the playground of their school or take that short trip home again.
I take great comfort in the words of Jesus when He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” MAtt19:14
3.      A Sacred site of WorshipTragedy should be a time that draws us closer to God, seeking His help and strength
Matthew 5:3-10 “”God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  God blesses those who mourn,  for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.  God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.  God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.  God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”     NLT
God has told us that in this work we will have many tragedies.
He has also told us that when we CRY OUT TO HIM that He will hear us and deliver us from our trouble.
Psalm 34:17-18 “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
4.      A fourth source of hope we find today in us.Our Founding Document begins with “WE THE PEOPLE”
We the people of our community need to come together:
                                                              i. To comfort one another
                                                           ii. To help one another
                                                         iii. To encourage one another
                                                         iv. TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
                                                            v. LOVE is the greatest HOPE we have
5.      Let us Pray: