I really don’t know what else to say, because I said it here in my post “Living By The Sword” and here in my post “How Long Must We Sing This Song?” and here in my post “Racism From Within” and here in my post “Don’t Give Up on the Work for Justice.”
But you know what, I’m tired.
When Sandy Hook happened, while I waited for news that my nephews and niece in Newtown were okay, though they had friends who were killed, I scrambled to find enough candles, twenty-eight of them in all. I remember when Virginia Tech happened buying a large bag of tea candles for the Sunday morning service, and invited everyone in the church to come up and light a candle for a victim of gun violence.
But I’ve run out of candles.
After most of the shootings, I have posted a prayer on my blog that can be used by churches when they don’t know what to say.
But I’ve run out of prayers, and run out of words.
Because it’s only a matter of time before someone comes in and shoots up the school my son goes to. It’s only a matter of time before someone comes in and shoots up the nightclub my gay friends or transgender family find refuge in. It’s only a matter of time before someone hates someone in my church and comes and shoots them.
Because in America we love guns more than God. We have made guns into God. We have broken the commandment and made an idol believing that a gun can save us and that only good guys with guns can help. When we look at the scarred, crucified Christ who said “those who live by the sword die by the sword,” how can we call ourselves faithful?
I’ve run out of patience. But what else can I say here that will make any damn bit of difference? The words of Jesus aren’t enough. The sacredness of life is not enough. The smiles of innocent children are not enough. The love between two people is not enough.
I’ve given up trying to make sense of it all.
America didn’t change when Sandy Hook happened, and we thought for sure we would. America will not change, until all of us look in the mirror and point the gun at ourselves. Only when we are able to do that, and see that we are killing ourselves, killing the very image of God, maybe we would change, when we realize that which we idolize is killing us.
But even then, I do not know.
This passage from Luke 14 has stuck with me:
“Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
What if our cross that we carry are dead children, dead lovers, dead church members? What if we were never, ever, able to get their faces out of our heads and we had to live with their memory, day after day after day? What if that became our cross to bear?
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”
Have we weighed the cost of our silence, of our candles, of our tears, of our graves? Have we weighed the cost when we look in the mirror? America has not weighed the cost. America has not been willing to sit down and consider, or send the delegation. America is not willing to give up its idolship of guns.
But we must. We must look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are okay with pointing a gun to ourselves, because the longer we do nothing, and we keep just writing blog posts like this one, we are killing ourselves.
Things we can do:
--Become Open/Welcoming and Affirming of LGBTQ persons. Talk about our openness, welcome and affirmation.
--Work towards legislation that would eliminate the kinds of weapons being used in these violent acts.
--Stop spending money at any store that sells these kinds of weapons.
--Talk about this at church. From the pulpit. And in Bible Study and Sunday School. Talk about what Jesus says and that his words actually mean something to us.
--Value our children more than we value guns.