by Rev. David Rommereim
Since Easter, I have taken a sojourn to visit my mother. I thank the stellar and sensitive leaders of Good Shepherd for their wonderful ministry. I have traveled 2,400 miles over the last week. During that time, I have rejoined my family after the second Easter season since my father's death.
Through the travel, I have listened to the rhetoric on the news about our country and the desire to discuss and decide what to do about guns and gun violence. I have also listened to the prophet Jesus, the resurrected Christ, teach through his intended verb for Christian ministry he calls, peace-making (Mathew 5.9).
While studying the issue, I have learned that three thousand three hundred forty six individuals have been killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook community experienced the rapid fired magazine clips that kill so many innocent lives in a matter of seconds. I have a very difficult time fathoming the additional 3,346 lives, families, and friendships that have been broken. That is a stark number of souls snuffed out of breath. I had to say the number twice even in this letter.
When I return from my little sojourn I will ask our community to pray together for the end of this madness. I will ask our worship leaders to provide our prayers, so that we remember the grief that is born by these families around our country.
I do not know the details on all these deaths. I only ask our God one thing, is there a way out of this violence?
As a person of faith, I know violence is wrong, period. Jesus remains the prince of peace. Jesus teaches that good, solid, relations have to do with how each one treats the other. He uses the Levitical formula to teach that we are to "do unto others what ye would have them do unto thee." In addition, since I want no violence done unto me, I then must treat the other likewise. Such a prophetic voice should guide the legislation about guns and ammunition. Some say this is naive. I say it is powerfully Christian. Stopping the cycle of violence begins with each one of us and expands prodigiously. The prince of peace you remember was assassinated because he refused to arm himself with nothing other than the power of God. This is none other than the power of love.
As a citizen, I am also guided by the desire for a "more perfect union." It makes good sense that the union of our pluralistic country means we must be, or become, accountable to one another in ways that do not infringe on our earned freedom. However, freedom is never individuated. Freedom is plural. It says, "we" the people. Thus, we remain accountable to the freedom each of us aspires. Such freedom demands justice and its kindred spirit, accountability. The fact that there seems to be a wonton disregard to the freedom of my neighbor, if in fact others say it is proper to own a gun without regard to responsibility and accountability, then gun freedom takes precedence and freedom is not free. On the other hand, freedom should refer to being accountable to one another, rather than free from the other. It is not unlike owning a driver's license. I had to earn my license so that I travel wisely knowing that my drive could harm another if I am irresponsible or negligent.
As you think about how you wear your Christian values and your role as a partner in this country, I ask us to remember the responsibility that freedom demands. We are a people eager to make good.
Our Prophet Jesus knows violence is an end of our life together. After all, as the Prophet Jesus worshiped he often prayed Psalm 133: How good and pleasant it is when kindred live in peace. Shalom.
a Pastor practicing Resurrection.