Making Space: Advent Week 2

I must confess that I was disturbed by my reaction to the news I received this week at Wonderful Wednesday regarding the San Bernardino shooting. Fourteen people dead. Maybe I was just busy, concentrating on what I had to say and do a few minutes later.  (I do that sometimes.) But I think it had more to do with the vast number of such incidences that have occurred in our country.

Maybe you’ve guessed by now…the reaction that disturbed me is that I had basically no reaction. It seemed like routine news, par for the course. And that disturbs me. It is not okay.

Tom Costello shared some sobering statistics on NBC Thursday morning. Among them:

  • The San Bernardino shooting was the sixth mass shooting in a week, and the second on that day.
  • In 2015 there have been 355 mass shootings, more than one per day, and 20 days with four or more shootings in which at least four persons were shot.
  • The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 31% of the world’s mass shootings.

I find myself wondering if I lived in another country and read those statistics if I would think twice about coming to such a violent country. And that saddens, worries, and disturbs me. I’m sure all of you share these concerns.

So what is the solution? I think there is no one solution. I think it will take a lot of effort by a lot of people on a lot of fronts. Common sense gun laws are one, but just one. I grew up with guns; as a hunter I was taught the proper safety of gun use. I’m not opposed to people owning and using guns responsibly. But I don’t think a person on the terror watch list should be able to legally purchase a gun, as is now the case. This, and other loopholes, need to be closed.

There needs to be better, more accessible mental health care.

The entertainment industry needs to curb its glorification of violence.

I’m sure some of you can name other things that need to be done.

And what do we need to do? First, we pray. We are people of prayer. We need to pray for peace, reconciliation, the healing of conflict. In a season in which we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us join our hearts in prayer for peace in our homes, our community, our country, our world. Whereas we will have different opinions on solutions, surely we agree here.

And what we must not do is to succumb to fear. Fear causes bad decisions. Fear leads to further conflict. As followers of Christ, we are called to share the love of Christ, and in Christ there is no fear. Indeed, 1 John 4:18 says that “perfect love casts our fear.” We can pray.  And we can share the perfect love and peace we find in Christ with others in things that we say and the ways that we live.  

Invite a friend to come with you on Sunday, as we are “Making Space” for the coming of Christ. We’ll sing and pray and listen for God’s word. We’ll celebrate with the children in the afternoon and the Community Chorus at night. It will be a good day. It will be a day that points us all toward the Prince of Peace.

See you Sunday, with a friend!



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