The letter below from Bishop Bob addressing the Las Vegas massacre offers hope and challenges us to action. We pray, we light candles, and then…May God inspire and embolden us from compassion and heartache into action which honors sanctity of life so we discover that place of balance with individual freedoms and community safety.
These days I have spent more than the usual time in conversation with clergy colleagues across denominations and faiths. We have shared our deep emotional response to the massacre. We have responded across the spectrum of grief –
- deep sadness
- Numbness and fatigue
And then we ask – What will it take to stop the violence and the taking of human life, especially on such a scale? May we not resign ourselves to such violence as though it is now a part of our culture and day. May we not decide that the problem is too large and complex for us to solve. May we not resolve that we are too polarized to come together.
As we struggle and wrestle with our response for changing laws and enforcements, let us be in the place of basic and perhaps ordinary human to human relating. Let us ask the elementary question asked of Jesus and we thought we answered in Sunday school — Who is my neighbor?
In our mobile and sophisticated culture, we seem to have come to value our privacy and independence above the blessing and importance of knowing our neighbors. However, by knowing our neighbors we can offer care, hope, joy and sometimes we may even be able to extend Christ’s light of grace into the darkness from which such violence and hatred comes.
Out of this terror, I intend to know my neighbors better — their struggles and hurts — to have more meaningful conversations with the people I live near — to help make community in a culture of isolationism. Yes, laws help to create communities of safety, but basic human to human relations through God’s grace, restore and heal brokenness. We can all do that right where we are.
A courageous church – Loving like Jesus, acting for justice, and united in hope.
A strategy for mission.
A Who is My Neighbor campaign for the transformation of the world.
In Christ’s Peace and Care,
Superintendent & Missional Strategist
Desert Southwest Conference
The United Methodist Church