I’ve had a heavy heart this week as I’ve read and listened to stories about the senseless killing of 4 college students at Michigan State and the serious wounding of 5 others. This mass shooting, the nation’s 68th so far in 2023, hit closer than the many others. My oldest daughter’s closest friend is a freshman at MSU. She’s shaken but wasn’t among the victims. And on Wednesday, I learned that a dear friend’s daughter was pre-school friends with one of the young adults wounded. I’ve told people this week that I’ve felt alternately sad, angry, and hopeless. The cascading numbers of deaths and injuries caused by guns in our nations is unlike that of any other nation. And it seems that we’ve elevated the gun to be a messiah, something that will save us.
As Christians, we know that our Messiah can be found in the person of Jesus who came to lead a revolution not with weapons of war, but with instruments of love and justice. This Sunday, we celebrate the last Sunday after the Epiphany, and our Gospel is the familiar story of Jesus’s transfiguration where we will hear God’s voice proclaiming that Jesus is his “beloved Son on whom my favor rests.” These words bookend our season after Epiphany. Over the past seven weeks of this season, we have heard story after story of how Jesus reveals himself to the world as Emmanuel, God with Us, the Word made flesh. In the calling of his disciples to follow him and in readings from the Sermon on the Mount, we begin to get a glimpse of who this Jesus is, who he is calling us to be, and his vision for a world we can barely imagine.
Our world as it is is not the world that God envisions for God’s beloved people and creation. We come together each Sunday to proclaim God’s vision, to be strengthened and challenged by the Word, to be nourished at God’s table, and to be sent forth to love and serve God. This, my friends, is what gives me hope for the journey. Hope that in our coming together, in our work for justice, we can catch a glimpse of God’s realm.
If you’re looking for ways to join the fight against the gun violence, check out www.momsdemandsction.org, Episcopalians Against Gun Violence on Facebook, or get involved in our United Power for Action and Justice efforts.
I hope to see you on Sunday.