February 15, 2018
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18
This scripture-within-scripture is originally found in Jeremiah 31:15, but in Matthew’s gospel it refers to the slaughter of the innocents. You know, that part of the Christmas story that we would rather not think or talk about. That part where innocent babies were slaughtered because of political posturing and a need for power. Yeah, we don’t want to talk about that.
So here we are again, watching the blood run and the families howl with inconsolable grief. And we see lots of social media posts with “thoughts and prayers” and “remembering the victims” and prayers of “Lord, keep our babies safe!” And we dare to cry, “How can this happen? How long, Lord?” And we have the gall to say, “Lord, do something!”
Jesus weeps and demands of us, “How long? How can this happen? DO SOMETHING!” I imagine that the families who grieve appreciate the thoughts and prayers, but I think that they hold no comfort for them. They are refusing to be comforted by thoughts and prayers when action is required. Take time for a moment of silence? Yeah, that’s great, but they are crying for us to take action.
In yesterday’s Ash Wednesday reading, Isaiah* the prophet brings a word that God is disgusted with the “fake fasting and mourning” of God’s people. Empty words asking for righteousness when we continue to practice unrighteousness.
The words, “our thoughts and prayers” taste like ashes in my mouth. The hand-wringing by the people in power who can (but don’t) end this horror, is enough to make me want to vomit. And I am venturing to guess that God is saying the same thing today he said to another prophet: “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:23-24)
The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14th was the 18th school shooting this year. Think about that.
When government officials say “unspeakable tragedy” they mean they don’t want to speak about common-sense gun control laws. Refuse to be comforted.
When the governor says this was an act of “pure evil” my stomach turns because what is pure evil is the fact that politicians don’t have the guts to say “enough!” to the powerful gun lobby. Refuse to be comforted.
When the mental health of the murderer is mentioned by the president but there is no mention of the fact that this administration did away with controls put in place previously to prevent people with mental health histories from getting weapons. Refuse to be comforted.
So, I am doing something. I have notified my representative to congress and my senators how I feel. I urge you to do the same. You can find them at the links below.
If you quote the second amendment to me, I will have a hard time talking to you right now. But I will. I will dare to have the conversations that we need to have to use our common sense and our compassion to see that this country stops being the greatest in the world—in the amount of school shootings and gun violence.
Pastor Sue Corley