Bishop: Beyond Prayer

I do not want to do anything but sit in my anger. Another mass shooting, and my anger overshadows my grief. Professionals would probably say that my anger is just a stage of my grief. 

Why can’t we have Super Bowl victory or holiday parades without casualties connected with our liberal proliferation of guns? We do not seem to care enough to change the weekly gun violence carnage in America. 

U.S.A. Today author Sara Pequeño describes it this way. “Gun violence is a uniquely American problem.” The death rate in 2021 was seven times that of Canada’s and 340 times higher than the rate within the United Kingdom. In 2023, there were more than 43,000 gun-violence deaths, including 656 mass shootings.

Further, the United States is the only peer nation where gun violence is the leading cause of death for children. I will continue to champion that Children Matter Most despite this. The death of innocents—so often children—does not sit well with my soul. We are passing the gift of generational trauma to our children and grandchildren. 

Though we may not personally know victims or their families, we are all losers in this never-ending cycle of violence. We are all victims. 

“Because whatever has happened to humanity, whatever is currently happening to humanity, it is happening to all of us,” wrote Alice Walker in her book Overcoming Speechlessness. “No matter how hidden the cruelty, no matter how far off the screams of pain and terror, we live in one world. We are one people.” 

The men and women we have elected to serve in Congress have done very little to change this never-ending nightmare of easy access to guns and daily deaths due to guns. 

My family had the opportunity to take a family photo with President Biden in Febrero 2023. While shaking his hand in the Oval Office, I took advantage of my two-minute opportunity to say two things. “I am praying for you and your leadership. And please do all you can to ban assault weapons and curb gun violence.”

I ask God regularly, “What would you have me to do?” 

We turn to prayer, the only collective response that we all seem to agree on. As I prepare to lament and plead for change on social media and directly to elected officials, I pray for the victims and families of those killed and wounded. I pray for God to order my own steps and commitment to bring change that benefits the common good. 

I’m reminded of Ruby Bridges’ quote, “We may not all be equally guilty. But we are all equally responsible for building a decent and just society.”

Lord, help us do just that. 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). 

Anímate,

Julius C. Trimble

Obispo residente

Conferencia de Indiana de la Iglesia Metodista Unida

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