I fully expected to introduce the readers of this blog to Coming to the Table in quite a different way than I’m about to. Approximately two dozen descendants of slave owners, slave traders, and the enslaved gathered for a long weekend in January 2006 at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We shared stories and meals together. We participated in rituals, laughed and cried together. We explored our unique connection to the legacy of slavery. We have, for the most part, stayed in close touch since, and hope to see an expansion of the table to which we all can gather.

Today, we are filled with grief. The family of one of our CTTT friends, David Works, met with tragedy yesterday. The family that was attacked in the parking lot of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, yesterday was David’s. Two of David’s and his wife Marie’s daughters, 18-year old Stephanie and 16-year old Rachel, were shot and killed. As I write these words, David remains in the hospital with two gunshot wounds. He is in fair condition and will remain in the hospital for about a week.

I’ve seen several e-mails from our CTTT family as we reach out to one another, all expressing the shock, deep sadness, and grief, as well as love and support for David, Marie and their other two daughters.

“Please keep David and his family in your prayers.”

“David is certainly someone that this should not have happened to. But I guess as most of us know, this kind of act is not one of discernment.”

“I keep seeing David’s daughters in my heart and mind. They were beautiful girls and so supportive of their Dad’s work with CTTT. He so loved those girls. It’s so sad.”

“This took my breath away and I cannot hold the tears back. When will this senselessness end?”

“What can we do?”

And this is the most frustrating part of tragedies like this. What can we do? It makes no sense. We usually hear about such events and they don’t have such a strong impact because we don’t know the victims. We typically think something like this “could never happen to me or to anyone close to me.” When it does, it strikes deep and painful into the most vulnerable parts of our being.