Given the three mass shootings in our nation last week, one of which was within the boundaries of our own Presbytery, words from the pulpit seemed insufficient last Sunday. How does God's Word help us through the trauma, tragedy, and grief over and over again when there are steps that may be taken politically to change things? Do words in our worship services make a difference?
I found myself drawn to the prophets and the story of Elijah on Mt. Horeb. God's presence was experienced in the silence as Elijah faced the corrupt political power of Ahab and Jezebel.
This week I also picked up a book by James Atwood called
America and it's Guns
and was drawn in by the hope of Zechariah as Israel returned from exile and the consequences of idolatry. Rather than the attention being on the problems of the widows and orphans, Zechariah pointed to a coming prosperity where the elderly and children could safely and peacefully spend time together in the streets of Jerusalem again. A feeling that perhaps we long for in this moment.
Atwood also talked about the value of human life, as we are all made in God's image. He went on to talk about the idolatry found in our American gun culture. His core questions relate to where we find our security in life and what/who do we worship? If our image of Jesus includes a gun, something is horribly wrong. His perspective gave me hope that there is a viable and needed theological response to what we are facing as a nation.
May you find hope within your faith as we continue to be a witness for the God who asks us to worship Him alone and to love our neighbor.
Rev. Jenni Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose