Last Sunday, orange ribbons with names on them were placed on trees around the church in memory of victims of gun violence. Little did we know that less than 24 hours later we would add another ribbon remembering Antonia Macri-Reiner, the wife of Art Reiner, our orchestra percussionist. She was killed last Sunday night as a result of a home invasion by alleged teenagers with guns.
Please keep Art, their family, and the many people who share in their grief over this tragic, senseless loss in your prayers. And, continue to pray for the many families throughout our city who share in the loss of loved ones killed by gun violence.
Pray, yes, but more than prayers are needed to change this trajectory. Gun violence will not remain distant. If nothing changes, more and more of our families will become victims. Not that that should be our reason for acting. We should act because of any victim, no matter how far removed from us. The kingdom values Pastor Jevon talked about last Sunday are our motivating factors.
We all have to decide the best action we need to take. But somewhere in the picture will be the policies and actions we want our elected officials to take, and that is where our faith will be put into practice. I don’t know where we got the idea that the church is no place for politics. I understand the church must never be the tool of a political party, but if we refuse to address issues for fear of stepping into something political, well, you’ll end up with what much of Europe did in the 1930s when most churches didn’t speak against what the Nazis were advocating.
I remember being in conversation with a man several years ago debating the merits of tougher legislation to outlaw the easy availability of gun access. He said, “That horse has left the barn. We need everyone to own a gun now to protect ourselves.”
That just sounds like giving up. We haven’t toughened gun laws in a serious way for some time, and we see the results. And there’s a word for continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results.
None of this is about restricting freedom. It’s about preserving life. Living is a human right as well. The most important right. Let’s engage in learning and acting as people of faith devoted to kingdom living and do that which preserves life.
As the title of a story by one of my favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor, says, “The life you save may be your own.”
Learn more about our Center for Contemplation & Justice at stlukesumc.com/ccj.