We are living in such scary and contentious times, and that makes me sad. Maybe you feel it, too. Everywhere we look there is division, acrimony, even hatred. The worst I can remember in my lifetime. So, yes, I am carrying a deep sadness in my heart these days.
And that was even before seeing the news of another mass shooting after getting home from our very moving Ash Wednesday service, this time in a high school in Parkland, Florida. There have been a lot of these lately, but for some reason this tragedy reached deep into my heart and is still heavy as I write this.
Actually, it is beyond tragedy—a lone gunman, not so long ago a student himself at that same school, callously and methodically, took the lives of 17 people in a span of ten minutes. Fourteen were students going about their day, seven were only 14 years old and two others were seniors looking to the next chapter of their young lives. The other three were teachers who died trying to protect their stu- dents.
Brothers and sisters, this is so wrong. All of us as parents have the right to send our kids o to school trusting that all is okay and not to fear for their very lives! Don’t we all agree? Yes, I am sad, sorrowful even, but I am also angry. Here we are, supposedly a civilized society, and all we can do is quibble and posture and debate the same old argu- ments and excuses—and nothing gets done!
Where is our humanity? Why do we as a people let this go on? And, for us who profess to follow Christ, how does our faith guide us through this particular wilderness?
I am sad and angry because it is going to happen again
and again. That is the terrible reality we are living with right now. At some time (maybe soon) and some place, other innocents are going to be gunned down and, heaven forbid, it could happen right here in our own little corner of the world.
And so, here we are, polarized as ever, stuck in our agendas and passing the blame, and Lord have mercy, our children are dying. How can we live with that?
Speaking of blame, people are saying it’s a mental issue, a gun issue, a parenting issue, a sin issue…and more. From my perspective, it isn’t just one of these, it is ALL OF THESE. I say that because I don’t see any kind of a solution until we as a society take a hard look at these perplexing issues and honestly begin to address them.
Yes, there truly is a great need to x our broken mental health care system, but until then, why not have a measure of accountability through stricter background checks to own a gun? Yes, there is the Second Amendment right to own rearms and, by the way, few are questioning that, and yet
I have to wonder why anyone needs to own a rapid- re military style weapon, the sole purpose of which is to be a “killing machine” (and which has been the weapon of choice in most of the recent mass shootings)? Yes, our society has a lot of problems, including dysfunctional families and poverty and addiction, which in turn, lead to even more problems. And yes, oh yes, there really is such a thing as sin—we live with its e ects every day, both by our own actions and others. So, yes, it is all of these.
How do we move forward? Well, as a society and as a people, we are the ones who determine what is of utmost importance, and what we will tolerate—or not. We elect the politicians, we determine the values by which we live, and we choose the Lord whom we will follow. Think of these words from the prophet Micah and how they speak to our times: “…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Fellow Christians, each of us has a part in this if for no other reason than the sake of our children.
In the love of Christ,