Response to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas shooting.

Dear SonRise Family,

In the wake of the devastating news out of Texas yesterday, I feel angered, saddened, devastated for the children and families not only in Uvalde but everywhere.  I encourage us to not become numb.  We need to feel the inconsolable pain parents and children in one community are experiencing this morning.  Our scriptures tell us we are to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be arrogant, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are." (Romans 12:15-16)
God is most certainly with us, but His comfort is for those who are devastated and hopeless this day in Uvalde, Buffalo, Irvine, Ukraine - and wherever violence is ripping out life and joy.  The Holy Spirit is with us too, but for a different purpose.  The Spirit will enable us to not just join in prayer, but to move toward action in humility.  

And I believe the action needed from us as a faith community is clear.  We know a different story.  We know there is a peaceful, uniting, equalizing force available in this world.  God's love, as we understand it in the person and savior Jesus the Christ, is truly the most powerful force in the universe!  If only we choose to use it.  We mustn't allow ourselves to think God's powerful love is a passive feeling.  It truly is an active work of transforming hearts and lives.  God's story of loving all of God's children has been handed down to us through generation after generation.  We must ask ourselves, "Am I passing on the counter story of love, harmony, unity and equality in a world of division, individuality, economic disparity and violence?"  It is not an easy question to contemplate and isn't intended to make us feel bad or even suggest that we have not been "good enough" in the past.  This question is a starting point to reorient ourselves as individuals, and more importantly as a faith community, for creating a future free from violence and injustice.  And if our initial response is "it can never be done", then it never will be.  
I, for one, believe so strongly in God's power to transform this world and desire to be part of it.  I believe you feel the same.  I wonder how many of us just don't know where to start.  So, if I may, offer a short list of actions you can take today to join the movement:
  • imagine what truly breaks God's heart and allow your heart to break as well
  • pray not only for comfort for those affected by hatred and violence, but for guidance on how God's gift within you is to be used to alleviate the pain of hatred and violence
  • begin listing the places in our community where voices of hope and love need to be heard.  
  • show up - come to church to be renewed and supported in the work God is calling us to; go to schools and volunteer with marginalized students; stand in your neighborhood as one who is safe, filled with grace, and not afraid to speak words of justice and love.
Our lives are complicated and I honor the challenges you may be facing personally today.  I know I have my own.  Our hearts and lives, given to us by a great big God, are big enough to hold our own sorrows with the sorrows of the world.  To quote the apostle Paul writing to the Church, "make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 2:2-5)

May Peace rule in your hearts today,
Pastor Carrie

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