Late tonight (Monday), when I should have been going to bed, I heard about yet another mass shooting in California. Not the one Saturday, but a new one on Monday, at least the fourth in the U.S. in three days. I don’t know what to do with my frustration and anger about this uniquely American problem; so I let my heart pour out to God:
Dear God, as you know the bad news of hate and killing just keeps crashing in on us like a tsunami. Monterrey Park, Baton Rouge, Des Moines, Half Moon Bay-all names added to the shameful litany of American gun violence in just the last 3 days. We humans are violent. We’ve known that since Cain killed Abel, but Cain couldn’t reload and kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds. We are tired of the “guns or people kill people argument.” People with guns kill people, and people with access to weapons of war can kill indiscriminately.
Why, O Lord, do we Americans have more guns than any other nation in the world? Yes, we confess our nation was born in violent revolution, oppression of black humans, and genocide of Native Americans. Gun ownership was carved into our Constitution because Southern slave owners feared their human property would rebel against their cruelty. Give us courage, dear God, to face those harsh truths or we will never stem the red tide of innocent blood that stains our collective soul.
Holy One, the fratricide at Gettysburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Chattanooga didn’t quench the thirst for American violence. And when the gun manufacturers couldn’t sell their deadly wares to the military after the Civil War they cleverly used racism and fear of “others” to market more and more sophisticated weapons to American men eager to prove their manhood and protect their property and loved ones by owning the latest guns.
God, we are so tired of the discomfort that creeps upon us when we are in a crowd of people and begin to look around to see who might be the next gunman! This is no way to live! The gun lobby has purchased the votes of our elected officials so that no common sense gun control legislation can ever see the light of day. In my state and in others people can now carry concealed weapons without a permit! We are regressing instead of addressing our problem.
What will it take, Lord, to bring us to our senses? How many more innocent people will die before we find the courage to put an end to this madness? Why can’t we learn from what other countries have done? American exceptionalism blinds us to the wisdom and experience we need to glean from other cultures and nations!
Lord, we do have a mental health problem, that’s true, but the paranoia, rage, and desperation are more than individual problems. Our whole culture, economy, and system of government is mentally ill and in denial. Wake us up from this nightmare, Holy God. Bring us to our senses so we can stop doing the same thing (nothing) and expecting different results! We obviously don’t have a clue as to how to stop the madness on our own. Bring us humbly to our knees and give us ears to finally hear and obey the voice of the Prince of Peace. In whose holy name we beg for your healing mercy and love. Amen