Nothing to make you more excited and cheery on a Monday morning than reflecting on the horrors of gun violence in our country. But today I offer this lament for the world we live in.
Are you numb to it yet? When you hear the breaking news of another gunmen murdering people on their way to work do you want to just block it out and go back to watching funny cat videos? When they pull up the map of Chicago to show the areas where another week of spree shootings have taken place do you just wonder, “Why does anybody live there? I am glad I don’t live there.” Are you sick to your stomach yet? Have you resigned yourself to living in a world where a night at the movies, a morning heading to work, or a day when you drop your kids off at school might just be the day when the world changes forever because of another maniac with a gun?
We are sick. We are so sick. Why are we surprised when evil shows its power to us anymore? We are a culture of violence. We are not peacemakers. We are not blessed. We are warlords. We are hungry for violence and power. We have bought in, like no other people around the globe, that we can make peace through violence or its threat.
When do we begin to realize that violence breads violence? When do we realize that the inequities of our society, the structures we have allowed to exist, and our worship of the almighty gun have brought us to this place? Evil permeates our society. It flows from the top of our country to the bottom. It exists in our government, our economy, our cities, our suburbs, our homes, and in our schools. We seek to restrain it through more guns, tougher laws, and more people in prison, but we fail. We are not peacemakers.
Will gun laws help? Maybe, they certainly won’t hurt, but they are probably negligible in their overall impact. What do tough gun laws mean in Chicago when you can drive 20 miles to Indiana and be greeted by a massive billboard for Indiana’s largest gun store? We (and here I mean white middle class Americans, of which I am certainly one) have tried to just run away from the problem. We have fled the inner city and built beautiful suburbs where we can be safe. We have learned the hard way that it didn’t work. Money and comfort don’t defeat evil, they actually allow it too breed quietly below the surface until it erupts.
The only hope we have is the Kingdom of God. The only hope we can offer the world is a God who is a just King. The only hope we have is to sow peace one life at at time. We must go to the inner city and sow peace. We must seek out and sow peace with the mentally ill, no longer treating mental illness as if it is just a sin issue. We must sow peace with those who are different than we are. We must sow peace in our homes and help to save families. We must be different. We can’t put our hope in guns and bombs to bring about peace in this world. No, that is our job.
That doesn’t mean we don’t fight to restrain evil or work for justice in this world. But our job is to seek the Kingdom of God here and now. We are to offer the world a foretaste of a kingdom whose King is just and merciful. We can only do that if we are peacemakers. We can’t be numb to the violence. We can’t just hope it doesn’t effect us. We can’t just put more guns out there and hope that solves the problem. We must become peacemakers. We must live like Jesus.
So today I feel the weight of it all. I feel the evil. I feel the pain and the sorrow of a world where people going to work, or shopping in the mall, or walking home encounter evil in all its horror. I feel the calling, the calling to do something about it because we are called to seek justice and make peace. What do you feel today?
Lord, the promise of your kingdom is the promise of a world where violence and evil are no more. The inheritance we long for as your children is a peaceful life in your presence. May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May we strive for the peace of your kingdom. May we never allow ourselves to be numb or disinterested in the face of evil. You are Lord, all things have been place under your feet, so may you reign in our lives, in our homes, in our cities, in our states, in our country, and in our world. Help us Lord to bring your blessing to the world by being peacemakers.