Un-numbing Ourselves to Gun Violence

A message from Bishop Dave Nagler

On November 19th, the 601st mass shooting event of the year (defined as four or more people dead not including the shooter) took place in Colorado Springs at a nightclub that had been a safe place for the LBGTQ+ community. I heard about this while driving to a meeting the next day. I felt sadness and some initial rage, but then filed it away with all the other notices of shootings in our country. I repent of the sin of emotional fatigue in the face of such pain and grief. Maybe you can relate.

We should not become so accustomed to more than daily events like this in our society. Mental illness plays a role. Homophobia, misogyny, and racism are parts of the picture, and social isolation and polarization all do their part. Yet, we must ask why this phenomenon is both exclusive to our culture and expanding at an alarming rate. As a church we will disagree on whether the answer is more gun control, but as the body of Christ we must agree that indifference and inaction are not reflective of the faith to which we have been called.

On the ELCA website there is a resource that I want to commend to you. It is a 60 Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence study that leads a community to answer the biblical call to systemic justice making even when, especially when, it is difficult to do so. Here is the link for this resource (https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Addressing-Social-Concerns/60-Days?_ga=2.242871490.1727495550.1669072481-1348499201.1656369908)

For the families of the 5 people killed at Club Q we pray for their healing in the midst of unimaginable grief. For the 19 injured we pray for a recovery from both their physical and mental wounds. For the family of the shooter we pray for a path toward reconciliation with the horror perpetrated by their son. For our nation we pray for wise and just leaders to enact policies that prevent such atrocities.

 And for us, the people of God in the Lutheran church may our hearts that have become hardened by the constant noise of senseless gun violence become soft enough to be broken again. May we stop whenever and wherever we are and sit in silent solidarity with parents whose worst nightmare just came true. May we ask God for guidance and courage to reform our society by the power of God’s beloved Son.