Bishop Deon Johnson: Statement on Texas School Shooting
“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
(May 24, 2022) Our hearts are broken and our spirits are heavy. Lamentation, weeping, and mourning have become an all too familiar refrain in our nation. The devastation of gun violence has once again shattered the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of families in Uvalde, Texas, who must now grieve the promising futures of their loved ones. The lives of (at least) nineteen elementary school children and two adults, including teachers, have been lost in a tragic and horrific act of gun violence.
Words cannot begin to express the deep pain, loss, and grief of those left to mourn this senseless and preventable tragedy, especially the families of young children who dreamt of proms, first dances, graduations, and the many milestones in life. As a parent of young children I cannot begin to fathom the devastation and loss. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of sending your child to school, a place of life, learning, and laughter, and them never returning home. Like the psalmist we cry out, “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” What will it take for us as a nation to be moved to act? How many children must be sacrificed, how many families must be shattered, how many hopes must be dashed before we say, enough? This should not be. We, as a nation, must do better!
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be a people who seek peace, act for justice, and abide in hope. My prayer is that we will not simply offer thoughts and prayers at this tragic loss, but that we will seek to transform our political landscape from inaction to action, from offering condolences to offering concrete solutions to the evil of gun violence in our nation.
We must commit ourselves to creating a world in which all God’s children are safe, loved, and cared for. We must commit ourselves to engage with our political leaders to build sensible laws that protect and serve the least among us. We must commit ourselves to the hard work of standing up the powers that be who would maintain the status quo. As the Church, as follower of Jesus, we can no longer be content with praying the names of those lost to gun violence we must act to transform our neighborhoods, communities and cities.
Today we pray. Tomorrow we act.
Let us pray.
Loving God, Jesus gathered your little ones in his arms and blessed them. Have pity on those who mourn innocents slaughtered by the violence of our fallen world. Be with us as we struggle with the mysteries of life and death; in our pain, bring your comfort, and in our sorrow, bring your hope and your
promise of new life, in the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.