Earlier today the students of Noblesville West Middle School endured the horror of a school shooting. As of this writing it is being reported that two individuals were injured, critically – a student and a teacher. I pray that God’s care surround the injured and guide the healing work of the nurses and doctors rendering healing. Let us pray for all who were injured and impacted by this act of violence. I give thanks that this shooting wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.
This kind of violence – mass shootings, school shootings, gun violence associated with street crime, gun violence associated with suicide attempts, accidental shootings – doesn’t happen in other developed societies. There is a particular kind of social, moral ill in our society associated with gun violence. I don’t know whether to pray for God to have mercy on us, or to judge us and to judge us harshly. The Bible is filled with pleas to God for both judgment and mercy. I find myself stuck in between. Those kids at Noblesville need – and indeed, receive – the unending mercy of our loving God. God weeps this day for those children.
Yet our society at large merits nothing but God’s judgment. You, me, all of us – we participate in this unholy status quo where kids get shot and the rest of us lift up thoughts and prayers, as if that’s all we can do. We have blood on our hands. We perpetuate this culture of violence. It’s not just them, whoever they are. It is us, too. All of us.
In the name of Jesus, we who are yet sinners can make a difference. Following the Lord of Life, we reject the culture of violence. In the name of Jesus we embrace life – abundant life – for all people.
We are told that we cannot make a difference – and that is the Devil’s lie.
We are told that there is nothing we can do about gun violence – and that is the Devil’s lie.
We are told that this is an intractable political issue – and that is the Devil’s lie.
Faith moves mountains, heals the sick, raises the dead. Certainly in faith we can cast out the demons of gun violence. In the name of Jesus we can proclaim life in the midst of death, and reject the evil that tempts us with false choices and lulls us into complacency while our youth are gunned down by our inaction. Following the one who humbled himself to the point of death on a cross, we can humble ourselves and seek first the welfare of others.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was shot today at Noblesville West Middle School. He suffered and bled this day, as he does in all places of suffering, injustice, and evil. Jesus is present with those who suffer, and empowers his followers to seek a more perfect way. Let’s follow him, dear people of New Joy, into ways that bring peace for us and for our neighbors.
In Jesus’ name,
Pastor Chris Duckworth