BY STEVE DUNN
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, a special day for many Christians around the world. It marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance as we prepare to remember Christ’s death on the Cross to free us from sin and death’s sting. It will be followed by Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection and the beginning of life as God intended as we are restored to a right relationship with Him and empowered to live that new life to the full.
This Ash Wednesday was marred by the fatal shooting of 17 persons in a high school in Florida. It was the 29th instance of gun-related violence in our schools in the first 45 days of the new year. I am sure that there are some of my readers, especially those who believe in their unfettered right to possess weapons, who will consider the picture I have posted as emotionalism.
There indeed is some emotion in it. My heart breaks for the innocent victims of such violence. My soul grieves that so many in our society have allowed themselves to be detached from the suffering and loss of their fellow citizens. My spirit is aroused by the reality that our nation’s leadership can spend so much time and energy and attention on wiretaps and walls and shutdowns and scandals but do not see as a priority the need for intelligent and decisive action to deal constructively with the issue of growing gun violence–a problem that is as dangerous to the moral fabric of this nation as any we have faced.
Christians believe that we have been delivered from the power and the penalty of sin because of what Christ has done on the Cross. But we still live in the presence of sin. That reality does not excuse us from dealing with the present effects of that sin and doing our best to combat sin where we see it. It does not absolve our doing what truly loves and protects our neighbor, sitting on our hands,waiting for Jesus to come with our tickets punched for heaven.
It begins with prayer-prayer for the victims, prayer for the perpetrators, prayer for our leaders,and prayer for the callousness of our own hearts.
And then prayer needs to be matched with action, to work with the mind of Christ and the heart of Christ to help bring about the changes at all levels–our homes, our neighborhood, and our nation that will combat this violence and its effects on our society and its people.
© 2018 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org