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.”
With the nation, we grieve the lives lost and forever changed last night in Thousand Oaks, California when a man armed with a gun opened fire into a crowded bar filled with college students. With this tragedy, the number of mass shootings in the United States in 2018 now stands at 307. In the same time period, there have been 160 fatal shootings within our diocese.
The unrelenting rituals of violence and grief, shock and predictable response (or lack of response) can desensitize us to their horror. But last week, as I presided at the funeral of one precious young man whose promising life was cut short by a bullet, I saw up close the devastating grief caused by gun violence. As I write, family members and friends of those at the bar in Thousand Oaks are awaiting news on their loved ones. “The scene inside is horrific,” a police officer just said on the news. “There is blood everywhere.” May God have mercy.
Our faithful response to tragedy is always to pray. But then we are called to act. As a prayerful and sacramental people, we act in the face of tragedy with a hopeful expectancy of change. As your bishop and as a fellow follower of Christ, I renew my commitment to do whatever I can to end the scourge of gun violence that has overtaken our land. I give thanks to God that so many in this diocese also feel called to this work. You are my inspiration.
Together, with our eyes on Jesus and his call to love, we carry on.