This is an article copied from 'Brio' magazine's September '99 issue. I immidietly decided to put it up here. Columbine was horrific, but it's still amazing how much we don't know about it.
Jesus said, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:9-10)
One by one, we're all going to stand before the gate. Those who proclaim Jesus as their Savior will know the gate and enter through Him to find eternal life. Others who choose an alternate way will be on a path that only leads to death.
The twelve students and one teacher who were killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, stood before that gate. They didn't know their turn to die would come so soon, but there was little they could do to prevent it. All they could do was be prepared.
Of the Christians who entered through the gate on April 20, 1999, 17-year-old Cassie Bernall was one, and 17-year-old Rachel Scott was another. We're taking an opportunity to give a tribute to their lives.
The story of Cassie's life and death has made its way around the globe, and the last moments of her life have become a testimony to all who have heard of her boldness.[Cassie was an extremely strong Believer in Christ ever since her conversion from Satanism two years before her death; she took every oppurtunity to witness to everyone around her. It became known commonly that she was a Christian, so when the two gunmen swept through her school, one pointed a gun at her head and asked her if she believed in God. Cassie was silent for a moment, then said simply, "Yes." The gunman asked, "Why?" and shot her.]Cassie has been called a martyr because she was killed immidietly after declaring her faith in God. But Cassie was more than a martyr. She was a daughter, a sister, a freind, a student and a child of God."There was a quiet side to Cassie, but also a real fun-loving sid," says her pastor, George Kirsten of West Bowles Community Church. "She had a name for different people. I think she called my 13-year-old son, who's kind of gregarious, a tree frog or a tree monkey. Cassie was also a thinker. She liked to get into deeper conversations, and she talked a lot about her walk with Christ--not only with the kids at church, but with the kids at school."Cassie made it a priority to be involved with her youth group and spent Tuesday evenings meeting with a discipleship group. The groupd was going through a book called Seeking Peace. She had been underlining important points in the book and making side notes of personal applications. Pastor Kirsten explains that Cassie's borther, Chris, found the following note in her room on Tuesday night, when it became clear that she wouldn't be coming home. Cassie wrote this on the day she died:'Now I have given up on everything else. I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ, and to experience the mighty power that brought Him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with Him. So, whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life and those who are alive with the dead.'Seventeen-year-old Crystal Woodman, a friend of Cassie's, says Cassie truly lived out her faith and was always finding ways to serve. She remembers how Cassie loved greeting first-time visitors to their youth group and how she enjoyed volunteering with an inner-city ministry called Victory Outreach.Pastor Kirsten knows of Cassie's involvement with Victory Outreach, too. "She'd go down there along with the youth group and hang out with a pretty rough bunch," he says. "She'd talk to prostitutes, gang members and people just out of prison about the Lord. She was increasingly bold."Crystal, who was one student spared from the bullets flying through Columbine's library, says, "Cassie loved photography, and was really good at it. She liked to snowboard and hike and liked animals."And above all else, Cassie cared about people. Crystal says Cassie had talked about her hopes to work in the medical field someday. "I know she was planning on volunteering at a hospital this summer," Crystal says. "And then she was going to cut off her hair [to make wigs] for chemo patients. It was amazing. She was constantly trying to help people."With these few examples, it's easy to see that Cassie took on a sincere love for people since giving her life to Christ two years ago. "Cassie is a light for Christ," says 17-year-old Craig Moon, a close friend of Cassie's.Crystal agrees. "She died for her faith. That's why she died and that's how she lived her whole life. She was a martyr for Jesus."Crystal's parents, Brad and Misty Bernall, have this statement to share with readers: "Our daughter, Cassie, was no saint. She was far from perfect, but she was prepared. Her final word, 'Yes,' will always be a challenge and inspiration to us. Our prayer is that her 'Yes' will be proclaimed aloud by many more to come. Cassie, as one of her friends expressed, has raised the bar for all of us. Let us be determined to see that it is never lowered."
[There has been a couple of songs written about Cassie Bernall. I have one of them posted here on my web page; She Said Yes. Go read it!]
Always taking opportunities to tell others about her faith in Christ, Rachel Scott often used her talents in the arts for God's glory. She acted in school plays and choreographed productions to Christian music for class assignments. One of her favorites was a mime to the Ray Boltz song 'Watch the Lamb'.Rachel often expressed herself through poetry, too, and wrote one poem that illustrates the significance of each person knowing Jesus as Savior. Inside a print of her hand, Rachel wrote:'What if you were to die today? What would happen to you? Where would you go? Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance. It may not be there for you. After death, then what? Where will you spend your eternity? Will you have an eternal life with your loving Father, or will you be ripped from the arms of your Savior, Jesus Christ? Eternity is in your hands...Change it!"Rachel was near the end of her senior year of high school at the time of her death. She had dreamed of serving in Africa as a missionary. A co-worker and freind of Rachel's, Rob Salyer, told The Washington Post, "I think Rachel thought of Africa because there was so much suffering there. She wanted to help relieve the suffering."Student Sarah Arzola has a necklace with half a charm that says, 'Best Friends for Life.'"Rachel has the other one," Sarah said as she spoke with The Denver Rocky Mountain News. "We were complete opposites, but we were best freinds."Soon after Rachel's death, her mother, Beth Nimmo, talked with a reporter from the Christian Broadcasting Network. She said, "I'm so glad Rachel knew the Lord. It is a comfort to know that our relationship will be restored at some point. She was everything a mother could want, and I thank God for letting me have her and letting me love and take care of her as long as I did."
The Good in the Bad
Because of the way Cassie and Rachel lived, much was accomplished in their death. The Holy Spirit worked through the testimony of two young girls to change eternity for many other people. God has advanced His kingdom in a visible way through the tragedy in Littleton. As Joseph said, "You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Geneis 50:20)"Cassie was ready," Crystal says. "We all have to be ready like Cassie was--constantly reading the Word, constantly serving, constantly living your life for Christ."
What about you?
If you want to be ready, as Cassie and Rachel were, to pass through the gate to eternal life, you need first to come to Jesus. You can start by saying this prayer.Lord Jesus, I want to be prepared to enter Heaven through You. Please help me to know You bettern. Please give me eyes to see You, ears to hear you and a heart to understand You. I don't want the thief to win my soul. I want to spend eternity with You. Please forgive me of my sins and make me a new creation.Now, find a trusted Christian--maybe on of your parents, a friend from school, or a pastor at a local church--and ask for help and guidance in having a meaningful relationship with God.
Raised for one single purpose,
More on Cassie Bernall
Unknown until your final moments.
Staring death in the face,
You've always stood firm in your beliefs.
You left earth as a martyr,
But remain in our hearts as an inspiration.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ." (Philippians 3:14)
Cassie's mother, Misty Bernall, has written a full account of Cassie's life and faith. The book is titled She Said Yes: Cassie Bernal, the Littleton Massacre, and the Triumph of Good. It's expected to be available at the beginning of September in Christian and general bookstores. It can also be ordered from Plough Publishing by calling (800) 521-8011. All proceeds will go to support youth-related ministries.
This page was last updated October 24, 1999.
You are person # to visit this page since October 24, 1999.