Article: Sunday in Gilroy…and Now El Paso…and Now Dayton

I am distraught.

Like you, I heard about the murders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday evening and now the shootings in El Paso, Texas. I am not distraught because it is so close (Gilroy), I am saddened that mass gun violence is prevalent and a part of our culture and this event reminded me that this type of violence in the United States will not end. I am convinced this will continue because it is a part of our national culture.

This Sunday at church, we will lift up the family and friends of Stephen Romero, 6, of San Jose, Keyla Salazar, 13, of San Jose and Trevor Irby, 25, of Romulus, N.Y. We will also pray for those who were wounded and those who were traumatized by this senseless attack.  The prayer list just got longer. We will pray for those affected in El Paso Texas too.

I am generally an optimist and believe that change can happen but not in this case. I guess I am surprised that I actually thought change could actually happen… especially after the mass shooting in Arizona that included Rep. Gabby Giffords, a federal judge and a 9 year old girl. That was back in 2011 and here we are in 2019 and the mass shootings continue without any attempt to curb this tragic problem.  With each and every mass shooting I wondered, “Is this enough loss of life for the powers that be to do something?” The answer is sadly “no.”

I lived a sheltered childhood. I grew up in a place where people didn’t lock their doors and left their car keys in the ignition. The violence of the world seemed so far away and something I didn’t need to deal with or address. As it is, I am powerless. 

I am privileged but I am weighed down… but it is a light, privileged weight. I can only imagine what the Christians of Rome during the reign of Nero must have felt. I can only imagine the fear of Pakistani Christians in Pakistan encounter when they are persecuted. My sadness is but a fraction of what they experience and experienced.  Yet, I know this isn’t about Christians at all, just a reminder I live a sheltered life.

This past Sunday and now Saturday were more stark reminders that “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”Philippians 3:20 and “We do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14

I am not going to go hide and wait for Jesus to return (as appealing as that sounds). Instead I will continue speak out against the unjust ways, people and policies that contribute to the pain and suffering of this world. Personally, I will also to continue to follow Saint Paul’s advice to…

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: 

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; 
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. 
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:15-21

Will you join me?

God bless you,
Pr.Ben

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