On December 4th, 2015 I wrote a piece in response to a mass shooting in San Bernadino.Sadly, I can't even cry out "UNBELIEVABLE." Because it isn't at all unbelievable.
And yet we wonder. We consistently wonder and act surprised. Or worse, accept these shootings as a part of our reality, as part of the price we pay for the right to own a gun.
It was this entry that I referenced about six months later when writing about the shooting in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Before this, there was Sandy Hook and Columbine and Charley Hebdo and many others.
And between then and now, there have been I don’t even know how many other instances all around the world of people deciding that a gun…or a car…or a knife…or a bomb… will make for a bigger voice than they will ever have on their own, a voice that yells down, that strikes fear, that suffocates the life, out of others.
It’s easier, somehow, to believe that this sort of behavior happens when someone is ‘radicalized’ by a cause or movement. That left to his or her own devices, this behavior wouldn’t happen.
Nearly 60 people were killed in Las Vegas last evening by a single man whose family said there was no reason to believe he’d ever do something like that.
And yet, he did.
How many of us would say of our children, our relatives, our students, who will grow up to be lawyers, judges, police officers… there’s no reason to believe that they are racist. That they are prejudiced. That they will shoot to kill someone who is unarmed, that they will acquit against proof to the contrary, that they will run their car into counter-protestors at a white supremacy rally?
And yet, it happens. With frightening regularity.
Prayers were offered to the families of victims who died in Las Vegas by governmental leadership who can’t see fit to change gun-control laws.
NFL players who bend a knee at the National Anthem in protest of the prejudicial actions of law enforcement are scorned. One is even publically referred to as a son of a b****. by the highest elected official in the United States.
And we try to make sense of it all.
Sadly, I think there’s none to be made.
For me, the salvation is that it doesn’t need to make sense now for me to believe that something better is possible. If I give up wrestling with sense making, I can put that energy into the only thing I know for sure.
And love makes no sense either, really. Not the way we are called to live it.
But that’s just it.
According to my faith tradition, the glory of God is the human being fully alive. (Saint Irenaeus)
Love is something we are called to live. We need to be alive to do it. Alive together. Alive in diversity of perspective. Alive in hope. Alive in faith. Alive in moving forward. Alive in fullness and freedom. Alive.
I help you live and you help our neighbor and the neighbor knows someone in the next village over, the apartment building down the street, and is in touch with the guy on the corner.
Together we hold the tension. Together we make space for us all…Which is making space for the Glory of God. Through Love.