These last few days have been difficult. Once again, our nation has been torn by several mass shootings. My prayers are with all those in Texas and Ohio as they come to grips with the insanity behind what would drive someone to want to kill others. But Texas and Ohio were not the only shootings this past weekend. Several people were shot in Chicago, and last night, several more were shot in Boston. I do not have an answer to the problem but just sitting on the sidelines wringing our hands is not working and we need to find a solution and quickly.
In a time like these, I often turn to Scripture, and I find myself meditating on a passage from the Gospel of Luke, “Do not be afraid little flock.” These words come from the mouth of Jesus and remind us not to be afraid for God is always near to us. Yes, God was present in Texas, Ohio, Chicago, and Boston. God was with those who were killed, and God was with those injured, and God was with those who rushed in to help. God is with those who survived and will now have to grieve the loss of loved ones, and God is with us as we come to grips with what keeps happening without explanation.
Jesus also reminds us that we have to ready. We are people of action. Thoughts and prayer are tremendous, and Jesus prayed a lot, but he always followed up those prayers with action. He prayed, and then he fed the 5,000. Jesus prayed, and then he healed the blind man. Jesus prayed, and then he calmed the storms. Jesus prayed, and then he forgave those who had just crucified him. So yes, we need to pray, but we also need action. If we want the world to be different, we have to be part of the plan to make things different. Praying our way out will not work.
One concrete thing we can do in the midst of all of this is to start to change the way we think about others. As I remind you all the time, all of humanity is created in the image and likeness of God, and we need to see Christ in each person and treat them accordingly regardless of the way they might treat us.
Our hope belongs in God, who created heaven and earth. If we keep this in mind, we will not go wrong.