Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
I quoted those words in an introduction more than four years ago as I garnered a collection of essays and prayers and put together an action guide for Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence (Morehouse, 2015). At the time, people were still reeling from the horrific events of December 14, 2012. Since then, the violence has not ceased. A week ago, it occurred again, this time in a high school in Florida. Friends and colleagues have been sharing resources yet again, and the blogosphere has been filled with thoughtful posts filled with anger, condemnation, and calls for action.
I have been silent, feeling helpless and frozen. I can pray. I can donate funds to those who fight the gun lobby. I am thankful that my senators and representatives on both the state and national level are constant advocates for gun control. I’m trained as an educator. Both of my children are teachers in public schools. My home has always been a gun-free zone. I expect our schools (and churches) to be so also. Guns don’t protect people. People do.
Now our youth are leading the charge – my hope is their voices will change the tide of the complacent and complicit. For many,. their lives have always been “under the gun” and on alert. While I recall school drills of hiding under desks in case of nuclear attack in elementary school, their drills are far too real. They need our support. They need us to listen and provide the pastoral care for having to grow up too fast in a country that doesn’t put their needs first.
So again, I offer some resources, curated from the passionate work of others. I thank my colleagues at Church Publishing who agreed to make available as a free download, portions of Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace‘s Part IV – Pray: The Work and Part V – Engage: The Next Steps, linked below.
- Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: Prayers and Action Steps
- How Will We #StandWithTheKids? from Christine Hides of Bless Each One.
- Finding God in Difficult Times from Wendy Claire Barrie, author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents
- From Teaching Tolerance, three articles: Showing Up Strong For Yourself and When Bad Things Happen and Discussing the “Mental Health Issue” after Parkland
- From Fuller Youth Institute: Processing the Tragedy of School Shootings with youth
- Responding to Parkland, a list of resources from the National Association of Episcopal Schools
My past posts:
- Sowing a Nonviolent Country (October 2014)
- Are Prayers Enough? (December 2015)
- Discussing Violence in Church (June 2015)
Lord, we are your voice in the world today.
Help us to speak out when we see injustice.
Give us courage to fight for the rights of others.
Keep those who are afraid, strong in their faith in you.
For your ways of peace and love will overcome all evil.