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BY REV. SHELLEY DONALDSON

August 5, 2019


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A stark reminder from Vox's mass-shooting infographic by German Lopez and Kavya Sukumar
This morning’s front-page New York Times article on the two most recent mass shootings reminds us that we are a nation that has become numb to gun violence as we wait for the next massacre to unfold at the hands of white supremacy.
Lord, how long will I call for help and you not listen?
            I cry out to you, “Violence!”
               but you don’t deliver us.
Why do you show me injustice and look at anguish
            so that devastation and violence are before me?
There is strife, and conflict abounds.
            The Instruction is ineffective.
               Justice does not endure
               Because the wicked surround the righteous.
            Justice becomes warped.
 - Habakkuk 1:2-4
Living in Connecticut has heightened my awareness of how gun violence affects communities. Sandy Hook Elementary might be an hour's drive from my own community, but the ripple effects of that day are felt far and wide and long after in this state, and each time there is another shooting, another community feels that pain. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, there have been over 2,000 mass shootings in our country. Vox has a great website outlining this, and sadly, it is updated regularly.
 
Yesterday morning, before our regular worship service, I found myself sitting in my office alone, reading these words from Habakkuk and asking God the same questions as the prophet does here. Each time another shooting happens, I start to wonder if God is listening. Has God become numb to our white-supremacist-filled terrorism, like many Americans already have?
 
The truth is that God hasn’t become numb to our violent ways. God is not numb to the white supremacy that permeates our White House and our government. God is not numb to the terrorism that happens in our country. God mourns, just as we do. But each time another shooting happens, it is easy to think of Habakkuk’s words and blame God. But God isn’t the problem. We are.
 
We have to continue to challenge the NRA and work to remove politicians who’ve been bought off by the gun lobbyists. We have to continue to put our faith into action and demand for justice from our elected leaders. According to Politico, in the 2016 election cycle, just over $100,000 was given to Democratic representatives and over 5 million dollars given to Republicans from gun lobbyists. Our politicians have made gun rights more important than the lives of our children. This has to change.
Another article from today’s New York Times outlines the pressure that gun control groups are putting on the NRA. If you’re interested in getting involved, head on over to The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s website for more information. On Everytown for Gun Safety’s website, you can find out about gun laws in your state on their Gun Law Navigator and keep up to date with what’s happening directly around you.
God, make us aware and keep us vigilant in the face of injustices.
            Do not let us believe that gun violence is okay.
            Do not let us believe that white supremacy is the norm.
            Do not let us believe that terrorism happens only overseas.
            Do not let us look away when bodies of color are murdered,
but white American terrorists are taken away only in handcuffs.
Make us vigilant, God of all humanity, in the face of hatred.
            Let our voices rise over the “thoughts and prayers” of politicians.
            Let our hearts be changed so we are moved to action.
            Let our actions speak of your justice in the world.
            Let all those who mourn this day know that you mourn alongside them.
God, make us agents of change in a world filled with hatred to one where your light overtakes the selfishness of white supremacy and terrorism.
Amen.
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