Lead Us from Death to Life

Last Wednesday, February 14th, a young man entered a school building in Parkland, Florida, opened fired with a semiautomatic AR-15, and killed 17 students and teachers. This is not the first time I have had to write words like this in our newsletter. Shootings have become all too common in schools and public places. Again, the focus seems to be on the mental health of the individual who did the shooting. I have preached about mental illness. I realize that not addressing mental illness, not providing adequate resources to organizations who work with people needing assistance, and not making medications available for people with mental illness, can put people with mental illness in a desperate situation. Many times individuals dealing with mental illness become overwhelmed and look for ways to hurt themselves or others. Mental illness is a problem, and needs to have the funding and support to be addressed, BUT . . . if people didn't have access to weapons like the one used last Wednesday, or the one used in Las Vegas, or in the nightclub in Orlando, or the one used in Sandy Hook (the list is long), we wouldn't need to be talking about ANOTHER mass shooting.
I have said it before and I will say it again, people who want to use guns for hunting do NOT need an automatic or semiautomatic AR-15 gun. These types of guns were made for war.  They were made to kill people, not animals. They were made in order to be able to kill as many people as possible, as rapidly as possible. Why then, do we continue to make these guns available to people that are not serving in the military? What are we saying? 
Jerry said on Sunday (paraphrased), "we are people of faith so we should pray, but we are also citizens who have a responsibility to vote." As a church, we are not in the business of telling members who to vote for in any election. But as Christians, we should be led by what Jesus taught, and how Jesus treated people. Not once do we read that Jesus put weapons in the hands of people to kill other people. In fact we read in John 8 while Jesus was teaching in the Temple, teachers of religious law brought a woman caught in adultery to him, saying the law of Moses says to stone her. Jesus response was one of compassion. "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" The accusers slipped away one by one.
It is time to claim our Christianity. It is time to pray, yes; it is time to pray for the families who have been wounded by the loss of a loved one. But then it is time to act on our Christian values. It is time to call for the surrender of these weapons, for stricter gun laws, for stronger background checks, and for compassion. Compassion has not been shown until we remove the weapons that kill our children, our friends, our family, and our neighbors. 
Let justice roll, let mercy pour down,
come and teach us Your way of compassion.
~ Eldonna Hazen

Posted on February 20, 2018 at 11:41 am in Featured Content.

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