Responding To Gun Violence
At least 19 children and two teachers were fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook nearly 10 years ago. Often, we feel at a loss as to what to do in the face of such unspeakable horror. Here are ways you can respond.
Offering “thoughts and prayers” in the midst of such violence can be derided as both naïve or cynical. But, as John Wesley wrote, “All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God.” Prayer is how we communicate with God. In prayer, we share our hearts. We also pause to listen for wisdom and guidance. Pray for the families of the dead. Pray for our hurting world. Pray for peace.
Acknowledge the terrible loss
The people of God have a mandate to love like Jesus and do not need all the facts to feel and offer compassion. Acknowledgement is demonstrating that you, as a spiritual leader, or as an organization, do not have your head in the clouds or the sand.
Focus on scripture
People need to know what God has to say about pain and suffering. Some themes to consider: scripture that speaks about love for one another, letting go of fear, moving forward in courage, anything that leads people to the greater character of Christ. Talk human-to-human over issue-to-issue in the immediate aftermath of trauma, pain and suffering. Jesus is fully God and fully human so the way of Jesus is always a good example to lean into.
Create sacred spaces for dialogue
Each one of us can do this, regardless of our position or role. You can gather people at your home, church or office and hold sacred space for others. Reach out to the teachers, administrators and parents of young children. Ask them how they are doing and how you or the Church can support them with their concerns, fears and pain.
Educate yourself on what United Methodist say about gun violence