"How are you responding?"
A dear friend called with this question yesterday morning. It's a question pastors are called to grapple with on a regular basis since senseless gun violence is part of American culture, almost as common as patriotic songs and apple pie on Flag Day.
"I'm angry," I said with fire in my mouth.
"But I don't know how to respond to tragedy in my backyard faithfully as I'm not sure I can also faithfully name every other precious child of God who has been gunned down on the streets of America."
I realize this one hit close to home, and it's a Member of Congress along with Congressional staff, the first badge I wore in Washington. But what about others? Can we get as incensed with their murders or gunshot wounds as we do when those with power are the latest victims of America's addiction to guns and the handcuffs placed on countless Members of Congress by the NRA?
How will I respond?
I'll pray. I'll pray fervently for all who were on that ball field yesterday morning. I'll pray for those who knew and loved the shooter. I'll pray for those who were shot and in recovery. I'll pray for every ear who heard the pops coming from guns.
I'll promise to pray not only when guns are shot in a community I know well but when tragedy strikes all around our city and nation - which is exhausting to even think about.
But I'll also pray for wisdom and courage to know my role in speaking out against, marching for, and playing my part in helping our country grapple with its gun addiction and remove assault rifles from ordinary citizens in our country.
Why is it that it takes one of their own being shot for Congress to come together as one body? What would it take for this same body to come together and wrestle with a more complicated question, "What is my role, my responsibility, in making sure this never happens again?"
Come, Prince of Peace, and help me be an instrument of your peace.