Hopes and dreams are left to die Children scream, and wonder why While angels’ tears fall like rain Trying to wash away the pain
My heart bleeds, and yes, I admit I’m angry, though maybe not as much as Miah Cerillo, age 10. Miah Cerillo was in school in Uvalde, Texas* on May 24th this year when she saw her teacher get shot in the head trying to shield her students. Miah survived the rampage by smearing herself with her dead friend’s blood. Gun safely is one of the most critical social and political issues of our times but as a person of faith I can’t help but think of gun violence as a moral and spiritual problem as well.
The murder of innocent kids and adults hits home with me. My son is an elementary school teacher here in King County. Just last week his school had a lock down because someone threatened to “shoot up the school.” They were prepared, the doors secured, except for the ones to let the children run away as fast as possible. He tells me of the emotional repercussions on the crying, terrified children. By the way, my five grandchildren are all students in elementary, high school, and college.
If Jesus walked the Earth today, what would he say or do about this unique evil in the U.S. that is terrorizing our modern times? We only have some clues. In the first place he would be in tears as he was when he heard that his dear friend Lazarus had died. Yes, showing his human side, as recorded by John (11:35), he wept. As guns weren’t invented for another 14 centuries or so after his time, we can only speculate what his position, if any, might have been. We do know, however, that when Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus the night he was arrested, Jesus told him to put his sword away saying, “all those who use the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) How much more lethal are guns, especially AR-15s, than swords?
We know that Jesus was a man of peace as in one of his earliest public messages he remarked that
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
And there is the commandment everyone knows from God to his prophet, Moses, “thou shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17)
I argue that the issue of gun safety is primarily a moral one, good versus evil. There is a universal moral law which applies to everyone, the existence of which strongly implies a moral law giver, according to C.S. Lewis. He calls it a universal moral conscience, an obligation to do the right thing, consistent across time and cultures. Of course, some humans are diagnosed as sociopaths or psychopaths, and therefore don’t recognize this law.
As Jesus followers, shouldn’t we think and act in this light, that gun safety and responsibility are primarily one of right and wrong? The safety of our children and teachers as well as all people at stores, concerts, places of worship and businesses should be our supreme priority and mission. Shouldn’t we take this battle into the public square and never lose hope, the hope that our faith calls us to?
And maybe if we had done this, the innocent, precious little ones from Uvalde, TX like Marte who dreamt of being a marine biologist, and Ryan who wanted to make a difference in the world with his art, and Lexi planning to go to law school, and their honor roll and athlete classmates, would be alive today to continue dreaming their dreams. Shouldn’t we work and pray that:
No more crying and suffering be heard, That hate and fear won’t have the last word. Children again will learn, laugh, and play As angels’ tears are wiped away.
*On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States.