March 24, 2022
Ten days ago, I issued a statement in light of the ten individuals whose lives were taken in a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. On Tuesday, that darkness of destruction was perpetrated upon the precious innocence of nineteen school children and two adult teachers in Uvalde, Texas. We are devastated by the continuing onslaught of Americans who are simply going about their daily activities in neighborhood grocery stores, schools, churches, malls and movie theaters - never imagining they would be met with such evil.
Our united hearts and collective prayers are joined in the faithful hope that God will be near unto those whose hearts are broken. We ask that the Great Creator of all things and all people be very present for the fathers, mothers, siblings, and friends who face the horror of life without their loved ones. We also pray that the witness of the church and the light of Christ followers everywhere would dispel the darkness and dissipate the evil that destroys the flourishing of humanity.
While we as a body of faithful believers grieve the loss of life and offer prayers for the families, let us also be mindful that a fully faithful response includes action - as faith without works is dead. Evil acts like those perpetrated in Buffalo and Uvalde don’t just happen. Evil must have access and opportunity for it to be realized. Current gun laws in America provide access and opportunity for the evil of mass shootings to continue to happen. Until the access and opportunity that 18 year-olds have to purchase military-grade weapons changes; until the access and opportunity created by gun-law loopholes are closed; until the access and opportunity that legislation supported by lobbyists and lawmakers changes, we will continue to see the rampage of mass shootings in American communities.
Let it be clear that we believe in the protections afforded in the Constitution. Many of our members and I are gun-owners who hunt and enjoy the sporting aspect of having a gun. We also believe in a person’s right to protect themselves, their family and home. We are not anti-gun. Rather, we are pro-life. We are pro-life and believe that the basic freedoms of living in a free society should not be taken away by people who seek to specifically carry out mass shootings. We are pro-life and believe that brown children and Black grandmothers’ lives matter. We are pro-life and invite all other pro-life believers to take a vocal and visible stand in advocating for Congress to side with mothers and fathers who must now plan funerals rather than summer vacations. The pattern of mass shootings is unmistakable. The answer is undeniable. Offering our thoughts and prayers is untenable.
GMBSC’s theme for the upcoming session is We Are Light. I pray that the light of Christ would reveal to all of us our personal blindspots on this matter that we might fulfill the will of the Father. I pray that the light of God would push back the darkness and dispel the evil that we allow to exist by our unwillingness to act. Finally, I pray that the light of Christian love would remind us of the obligation to demonstrate care, concern and compassion for our neighbors everywhere.
Rev. Reginald M. Buckley,