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These last weeks have, once again, been a time of devastating news and deep mourning for our nation as a result of gun violence: a church in Ames, Iowa, a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the unthinkable killing of 19 elementary school children and two teachers by a gunman at Uvalde, Texas, the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook. It’s a horror beyond imagination, and yet it’s again the headline. And so the list goes on in recent weeks, with racially motivated killings at a church in Laguna Wood, California, a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a hair salon in Dallas, Texas. Each day it seems we hear of yet another shooting, and we know there are many that never make it to the networks and newspapers.
Again, violence and hatred have taken innocent lives, displaced families, shaken communities, and left us wondering why. We’re horrified to see the continuing devastation of gun violence in America.
We all know these stories too well. The same horrors play out repeatedly, and prayers aren’t enough. We take seriously our promise to speak up, call others to action, and advocate for ways to find accountability for hate and to work for criminal justice and gun reform.
For all who despair in the face of these events, let’s learn together and act together. We invite you to join us, starting June 3, for the next 60 days on a journey of prayer, scripture, stories, and church teachings crafted by the ELCA with “A 60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.” These daily reflections help us hear God’s call to prevent gun violence as people of God who seek justice and peace.
We will post a reflection on our Nativity Facebook page and on THIS PAGE each day (scroll down), beginning June 3, along with additional resources for contemplation and action around the issue of gun violence. May God inspire and move us as we bring our grief to Him in community.
We’re grateful to the ELCA for creating and offering this journey, and we look forward to sharing it together. Below you’ll find the ELCA’s introduction to the “60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.” We invite you to read and reflect on these daily posts.
– The Public Ministry Department, Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy and Kyle Soderberg
A 60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence
“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is saddened by the all-too-frequent occurrences of
gun violence in this country. We mourn the loss of life. We grieve for the victims and their
families, who often feel silenced. And we lament for those who have done violence to others and
often feel removed from a community of faith.
Our baptismal covenant calls us to strive for justice and peace in all the world. As a church, we
look for ways to bring healing to those affected by violence as well as those unjustly caught up in
the criminal justice system.
As a community of faith, we strive to be visible witnesses and agents of change in addressing the
root causes of violence. We recognize that, in many cases, discrimination is a factor in gun
violence, and we acknowledge the toxic intersection of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism, and
With this 60-day resource we ask you to journey with us through daily observances that revolve
around prayer, education, and advocacy. Through daily readings we lift up the many ways in
which the ELCA has spoken out, through statements, social teaching and social-policy
resolutions that address gun violence, violence prevention, and criminal justice. We are not alone
in this work; we seek ways to work with our ecumenical and inter-religious partners, with other
faith groups, and with other organizations that share our goals.
Meeting in 2018, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council acknowledged that churches
hold fast to a message of peace while living in contexts of violence. The LWF general secretary
implored member churches “to accept these challenging times as a Kairos to be the church, a time
to draw from the deep sources of faith so as never to be driven away from the message of the
liberating grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.”
In some ways we have become inured to gun violence. We must become re-sensitized. This 60-
day resource of prayer, scripture, church teaching, and information bids us to face the painful
truth about gun violence and to work for its prevention through the message of Christ for the
sake of the gospel.
We hope this resource will help guide us as a community of believers to follow Jesus’ call to be
peacemakers, to pursue justice, and to protect the vulnerable.”