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Posts Tagged ‘Parkland’

Ash Wednesday is a time to remember our mortality and to enter into a time of repentance. This year, the day was punctuated with a graphic example of this brokenness in our world, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

As a pastor, I want to say healing words to all who are hurting. As a prophet, I want to call out the responses that are preventing us from working together to solve this. I believe that our only way forward is to make peace with one another and take faithful steps together.

There has been a lot of criticism of offering thoughts and prayers. If our thoughts and prayers don’t lead to action, then they are certainly empty gestures, but before we dismiss this as a first step, what kind of thoughts and prayers can lead us faithfully to take action?

Lament – Before we jump in with our opinions, let us first honor the victims with deep prayers of lament. Our Bishop has asked us to read the names in worship on Sunday. Have you read each name and looked at each face, learned something about each person and celebrated who they were before their lives were cut short? You can read about them here.  We can also lament the other school shootings that have taken place this year. Sit with the pain and sadness of the loss of each person before moving on to a solution.

Repentance – Lent is a season to reflect on our own sin. How do each of us contribute to the violence in the world? Before posting something angry on social media that points a finger at someone else, have we taken some time in prayer to reflect on the anger in our own hearts? Jesus says that anyone angry with a brother or sister is committing murder (Matthew 5:21). In the safety of prayer, lay down your anger to God and let your heart be healed. More anger is like pouring gasoline on the fire.

Discernment – Before taking action, have we prayed about how God wants us to act? Have we allowed the Holy Spirit to lead us forward? What is God calling you to do? We know by now that social media debates do little to solve our problems. We also know that we can achieve much more when we work together. The United Methodist Church’s 2016 Book of Resolutions contains a call to end gun violence. Click here to read ways that you can join together with others to work toward the vision of shalom or God’s perfect peace.

Walk Faithfully – Pray for the courage to take whatever action God is calling you to take. Our political divisions have caused us to choose silence as a way of avoiding conflict. We have to care about our brothers and sister enough to enter into a thoughtful conversation together. We have to put our relationships above our political parties. Get out of the echo chamber and learn how to have loving and respectful conversations with people who have opinions that are different from your own. If we can find a middle ground in love, we can move forward.

I have seen what can happen when faithful people walk together for good. Let’s do that.

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