Hours after an 18-year-old youth gunned down 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman tweeted: “The truth is, one nation under guns.”

We are all reeling from yet another senseless mass murder. Nineteen precious children. Two devoted teachers. The semi-automatic weapons used had obliberated some of the victims’ faces beyond recognition. DNA samples were required for identification.

Easy access to military assault weaponary is absolutely incomprehensible and evil.

America has a serious problem. Even as we grieve for the families and acknowledge their unimaginable horror in losing a child in a school shooting, it is time we acknowledge our national idolatry.

The Bible has a lot to say about idolatry, the worship of false gods – and none of it’s good. Let’s admit we have a problem. Our glorification of guns has spiraled out of control. “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword,” Jesus said. He responded to violence non-violently. Jesus knew that violence only begets violence. He tried to show us another way. Prophets of old and new call us to turn our swords into plowshares, our weapons of destruction into implements of creation.

Pastor Shirley adds a ribbon to honor a victim of gun violence in 2019.

It is so easy to sink into despair in times such as this. But we are a people of hope! However, hope, like faith, must be put into practice. Now is the time to enact common-sense gun safety measures that a majority of Americans support.

“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of humankind,” writes Gandhi. “It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of humans.” Jesus was Gandhi’s model for nonviolent resistance. For too long, Americans have professed belief in a “higher power” – with high-capacity magazines – “one nation under guns.” May we, as followers of the Prince of Peace, find ways to transform our culture of glorified guns and violence.

Pastor Jeff