Wednesday Word from Rev. Grace, "that they all would be one"
I had not heard the news when I logged on for Zoom Evening Prayer last night. Those on the call told me about the murders in Uvalde, Texas. The toll as of this morning is 19 school children and 2 adults. The gunman appears to have been an 18 year-old who acted alone and who was also killed. Carole Hill said what we were all thinking. "They haven't even finished burying the people who were killed in Buffalo, and now there is another mass shooting."
The rate of gun deaths in the US is higher than most other developed nations. However, the US rate is lower than that of El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras, according to the Pew Research Center. The grief and horror we feel after tragedies like this is magnified in many Latin American countries.
In this Sunday's gospel lesson, Jesus prayed "that they may all be one." I don’t think Jesus was praying for perfect unity and alignment on every issue. That is not possible in God's diverse and varied world. And it is not even desired. Our different perspectives and experiences help us come to better solutions than we might create on our own.
Jesus prayed that we would be one in compassion, one in grief, one in recognizing that neighbors killed in Buffalo and children killed in Uvalde are our neighbors and children, one in working together to create a more safe and joyful world.
To that end, here is a list of Episcopal Church statements over many years on gun safety and reform. A few may seem extreme or unrealistic, and some may no longer be relevant. Overall, though, they approach gun safety as a problem to solve, not a partisan battle to win.
That’s part of what it means to be ONE as we address difficult issues - work through our anger and confusion to focus on the problem and ways to solve it. Jesus prayed that we would do that.