“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”   - Matthew 2:18 (NRSV)

Dear Friends,

I refused to be consoled this day. Innocent children and their teachers are dead at the hands of a child (he was just barely 18-years-old) and his automatic weapon.  There are not enough tears to contain our grief for these victims or for a country that continues to allow this kind of slaughter to happen.


I also refuse to be distracted by questions of how long it took police to do something.  This is rhetoric meant to divert us from the truth of the situation.  It was an automatic weapon.  Time did not matter. It would have only taken seconds for the slaughter to happen.


In the years that we have been watching the slaughter of people by automatic weapons in our country, we have collectively done very little to address the issues at hand. To be sure, the issues are complex. Was it mental illness? Radicalization?  Access to weapons? The culture in which they were raised? Bullying? There are so many reasons why, none of which satisfies completely. So instead of tackling something, we, as a nation, have thrown our hands up in the air and effectively done nothing.


I heard a commentator speak on Tuesday night who reminded us of what happened after the 9/11 attacks.  He recalled that we as a nation did not wait to do something until we figured out the one thing that needed to be done. We did many things. We did everything we could think of that might protect us from a repeat of such violence in the future. Some of them worked really well. Others may have been marginally successful. But we did many things together as a nation to prevent future violence.


We have to do something about gun violence. Many somethings. We cannot sit back and argue how this thing or that thing will never do it. Let’s throw every solution we can think of at this epidemic. We have to do whatever we can to save our children, protect their physical and mental health, and create a more peaceful world. It can’t just be sensible gun control laws, but it must be that.  It can’t just be stricter background checks, but it must be that. It can’t just be better mental health services, but it must be that. It can’t just be scrutinizing the income sources of politicians, but it must be that. It can’t be required gun safety classes for gun owners, but it must be that.


Doing just one thing, or refusing to do a particular thing, will never get us to the place of healing and wholeness and peace in our nation. We have to do the many things we know in our heads and our hearts will have some impact. And we have to do them now.


Friends, you and I have to do something. We cannot leave it to others. So how are you going to get involved? Join a group working on gun regulation. Contact a member of Congress https://www.congress.gov/contact-us Make a donation to a candidate or party who will fight the gun lobby. Advocate for the role of school social workers. Get someone the mental health care they need. Do something!


Hug your children and grandchildren a little longer.  Pray for the victims and their families. Pray for our nation. And do something about gun violence!


Pastor Becky Jo

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