A local pastor is left with one gnawing question after the unspeakable shooting deaths of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut: Where's God in our lives?
"I felt awful about what happened and I was in a meeting with some associate pastors and I had an open vision," said the Rev. John Calderon of Day 3 Church about the Dec. 14 mass shooting in Newtown that also claimed the lives of six adults
Calderon's vision will come to fruition this weekend in the form of a blessing of Los Banos' children. He and about 15 other Los Banos pastors of various denominations will hold a blessing ceremony at 7 p.m. Sunday at the multipurpose room at Los Banos High School, 1966 Eleventh St. The two-hour event will include prayer, spiritual songs and scripture readings.
Calderon said he's hoping attendance is large enough for 2,000 children to receive blessings. Parents and relatives of the children may also be blessed upon request, according to organizers.
The Rev. Dean Nelson of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church said he appreciates the date chosen for the event.
"That happens to be Epiphany Day, which is the day we celebrate the Magi coming to meet the Christ. It's an appropriate day that we encourage our youth to seek the wisdom that is from above," Nelson said.
The Rev. Bruce Rivers of Greater Exodus Baptist Church said informing the public about the event has allowed him to do some outreach.
"This is a perfect evangelism opportunity. You can just start talking to people, 'Hey, you got kids? The men of God and women of God in this city are going to bless your children," Rivers said. "Who's going to turn down a blessing, especially in these last and evil days."
The pastors also plan to have scripture readings in Spanish to attract non-English speakers.
Calderon said he does not want the blessing to become something that is done every year for the sake of tradition. He said he wants Sunday's event to be meaningful on its own.
"It is true that sons and daughters are indeed a blessing. And it is important for our community and our city, houses and homes be rooted in the lord," Calderon said.