Once again, we are inundated with news coverage of another unspeakable senseless tragedy. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain of those parents whose children were murdered at Robb Elementary School. We all say our prayers and thoughts are with them, but in the face of our complacency in restricting guns from our society, they are nothing more than hollow, meaningless words. Faith without actions is dead, and our prayers do not reach the heavens without accompanying actions to remove guns from our society.
In 2022 alone, there have been 19 school shootings. Right now, we average more than 10 mass shootings a week. Every day 321 people are shot in the US, and every day 112 people die at the hands of people with guns. People with guns kill people.
The untold toll of gun violence on a community is the collective emotional trauma. In a world of violence, we are forced to live in isolation in fear of others. When we fear one another, we cease to be humans. The true cost of gun violence is our humanity. Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a spike in depression, suicide ideation, hatred, and anger. We are now dealing with a national mental health crisis caused by a lack of human interaction. It is now a pandemic of loss of humanity.
As a nation, we are now asking ourselves the question, "How do we go on living when there is so much violence, pain, and suffering all around us?" Many are unable to find hope and are giving up as we see a rise in the rate of suicide. It almost appears that mere survival is now a badge of honor.
How we deal with life's difficulties defines who we are as people. In this week's story about Ruth and Naomi, we see two different responses to a shared crisis. Naomi became bitter and isolated herself, sulking in her losses, but Ruth goes into action to continue with her life. We also see Ruth's resilience helps Naomi find her strength and restoration.
As people of faith, we find our hope in our belief that God's grace and mercy will prevail. In our hope, we continue to work to create peace and justice that reflects God's love for all peoples. I hope we do not give in to the evil of hatred and indifference, but we actively confront them through grace and mercy. To have faith means we have hope.
We say that love can overcome all things, but that is only true if love is active.