[Jesus said:] “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Well, it happened again. Several times.
There was Gilroy. Three people dead. 13 injured. The shooter dead.
There was El Paso. Twenty-two dead. Twenty-four injured. The shooter captured.
There was Dayton. Nine people dead. Twenty-seven injured. The shooter dead.
Then the inevitable arguments: Assault weapons ban, mental health issues, domestic terrorism, background checks, hate groups, N.R.A., daily shootings.
The list goes on.
It is overwhelming.
The bible passage above does not give answers to these ongoing tragedies. However, I see some guidance in these words.
The first words are: “Do not be afraid, little flock.”
It’s hard not to be afraid and anxious in times like these. These words are words of encouragement in dark times. They are a call to trust God even in dark times. They are a call to turn to God in these times.
Later, Jesus speaks these words: “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.”
These words are a call to be ready for action. There are opportunities for people to act. There will come more opportunities to act.
With this being said, I offer these two possible guidelines.
1. Pray. We pray for the victims. We pray for the families. We pray for the first responders. We pray for guidance to help in the situations.
2. Act. We act. We can act in many ways. We can contact representatives. We can vote. There are many ways we can act. There are many ways to act.
The solutions are complex. The answers are not easy.
May God keep us from complacency in these situations. May God not allow us to be anesthetized to these tragedies.
May God grant you peace in these anxious times.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California