Maybe you saw it too. Maybe you felt the same shame and horror when you saw the December 3 cover of the NY Daily News appear all over social media proclaiming “God isn’t going to fix this.”
Because part of you believes as much as I do that God has to fix this.
You’ll sit in church on Sunday—just like I will—to hear the words of prophets proclaiming, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”
But God isn’t going to fix this, they’ve told us.
All our thoughts and prayers are meaningless now that there have been at least 352 mass shootings in the last 336 days of 2015. We’ve wept and mourned over San Bernardino and Colorado Springs because there have been so many shootings.
But not just shootings.
There are bombs exploding in Paris and Beirut. Violence continues to shatter our expectant hope for the coming of the Christ Child. How can we possibly prepare? What can we do but weep and pray? How can our thoughts not go toward the One who created us and better pull us out of this mess?
God can fix this. I won’t be ashamed or embarrassed by this faith.
I will pray without ceasing because that’s what people of faith do to make way for God. We prepare for the advent of less destructive forces by rolling up our sleeves and doing something about it because we know that God has no hands but our own.
It will never feel like enough.
We will always want to do more but we will light as many candles as we can in community vigils. We will chant and sing in the streets because we know this isn’t all there is.
There is more than this violence, and we’ll do what we can to turn those weapons into plough shares. We’ll demand action from those in power while we try to do our small part to make our towns and villages and urban areas safe for children and healthcare providers and teachers and even for those people who believe that prayer doesn’t lead to action.
The Rev. Elsa A. Peters is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who has served churches in New York City, Maine and Washington. She believes in the power of community, that poverty can end in our lifetime and that everyone needs a little more love. Follow along in her adventures in ministry at http://revelsaanderspeters.com. You can also find her on Facebook at /elsa.a.peters.