Pause with me a moment as we let sink in the enormity of the news yesterday about another school shooting, this time in Uvlade, Texas.
I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. On one hand, I feel like I need to say something, as a pastor, isn't it expected of me? Yes, what happened yesterday was wrong. No, I don't believe God had any role in causing it. It wasn't some punishment for the sin of this country or any other reason. It was NOT God's will that this happened. It WAS God's will that those 19 children had a chance to live their lives. It WAS God's will that the gunman used the gift of free will to not go through with his plans. But that isn't what happened.
I'm feeling a lot of things about this as I am sure many of you are as well. Anger, sadness, confusion, frustration, and even a little numbness. But mostly just uncertainty as I try to make sense of things.
In my community, today is the last day of school. As I scrolled through my Twitter feed this morning, I saw pictures of kids running down the hallways of school celebrating the end of another school year and celebrating all that they have accomplished. I couldn't help but wonder if they knew about what happened a thousand miles away, and if it was on their minds. I am certain that it was on the minds of the teachers.
As it has been said before, thoughts and prayers, though really important, only go so far. I believe God works through you and me to answer those prayers. Solving the problem of gun violence in this country is no easy matter, but we must do something. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do know that we can't put our heads in the sand, which is what we are oftentimes tempted to do when the troubles of the world seem so big. So what can we do?
First and foremost, we can pray. Prayer is the first step but can't be the last. I think we need to repent from our love of guns, which only serve one purpose, to kill. Whether it is to kill an animal or to kill another person intentionally or in defense, this is the only purpose they serve. The Jesus I read about in the gospels is a God of peace and love, not death and violence. Though I am not opposed to guns for hunting, we have made owning guns in this country an idol that we need to repent from.
Other things we can do are to have conversations with one another about possible solutions as to why young people feel that shooting up a classroom full of students seems like a reasonable solution to whatever it is they are going through. We need to be informed about the issues and hold our elected officials accountable. Did you vote? Have you made your voice heard? Right after I post this blog article, I will be writing my elected officials and asking that they do something, anything, to prevent our children from dying needlessly. If they really want to be pro-life, they can start there.