We gather this afternoon for many purposes: to weep for lost friends and family, to mourn our lost innocence, to walk forward in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, to embrace hope in the shadow of despair, to join our voices in a longing for peace, healing, and understanding greater than any single community of faith, to embrace that which unifies, and to reject the seductive temptation of hatred. We gather to share our hurts and our hopes, our petitions and our prayers. We gather also to drink deeply of religious streams which have refreshed parched peoples for generations. We gather together….Weeping, oh yes, we weep with sighs too deep for words, out of inexpressible pain-but also affirming the sovereignty of life over death.
 At a time such as this the darkness of evil seems powerful indeed. It casts a pall over our joys, joys as simple as a glorious spring day on the drill field. We struggle to imagine a future beyond this agony. If we ever harbored illusions that our campus is an idyllic refuge from the violence of the world, they are gone forever. Yet we come to this place to testify that the light of love can not finally be defeated. Amid all our pain, the light shines in the darkness and darkness has not overcome it. We can not do everything, but we can do something. We can not banish all darkness but we can, by joining together, push it back. We can not undo yesterday’s tragic events, but we can sit in patient silence with those who mourn. As we share light, one with another, we reclaim our campus. Let us deny death’s power to rob us of all that we have loved about Virginia Tech. Let us cast our lot with hope in defiance of despair.