The headlines just keep coming. Day after day, week after week, people are dying because of gun violence. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you are doing or what your economic status is, the access to guns in this country has placed everyone at risk. My heart breaks once again for the loss of innocent lives in the latest shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday. Seven people are dead because one person decided to kill. Our hearts grieve for the children and families impacted by this latest tragedy.
Gun violence in this country has reached epidemic proportions, and we are known across the globe as a very violent nation. Something is wrong when a nation has the number of deaths we’ve had, where even 6-year-old children can get access to guns. This is not going to stop until there are regulations in place, and that starts with our lawmakers. As it stands, the gun industry has the right to sell to anyone at any time. The lawmakers that we elect to look out for our best interest must more forcefully regulate this industry and get the violence off the streets.
It is not just a problem for the government. It’s a spiritual problem as well. The church needs to speak out. Every pastor needs to preach about this issue from the pulpit. Ruling elders, deacons and members must call for action from the government. How can we love one another when we are packing pistols to kill one another? We have to be more vigilant in the church, and that means more than just preaching. It means more than just taking back old guns through a buyback program.
Today, someone we don’t personally know is gunned down. Tomorrow, it could be one of our children or someone else we love. We are in a time where any of us can be a victim of random violence, whether we are out shopping, in the yard playing with our children, any time we send our children to school or get in the car and drive down the street. We don’t have control of it until we take a major step in changing the laws of this land.
Pray endlessly for comfort and love for the community scarred by this latest incident. Pray that God will work in the lives of those who have the authority and power to make real change. May our country once again turn to God for guidance and direction.
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)