I haven’t known exactly what to say in light of the multiple mass shootings last weekend. The one in Buffalo is a special brand of horror, with its combination of white supremacy, internet-fueled isolation and easy access to assault rifles.
Again I find myself asking, what does our faith have to say about this? A few things come to mind.
1) As a testimony to the kind of community Jesus himself created, we celebrate the gifts of all God’s children. We call out White Supremacy as the demonic ideology that it is. In some ways it’s easier when it’s as obvious as it was in the case of the Buffalo shooter. It’s harder when it shows up in our families, our church, ourselves.
2) The church is a community that makes space for lament, grief, and remembering. The racial justice team already planned for the May 29th fellowship hour around our mural to include a commemoration of the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. We will add lament for those who were killed at the Tops grocery store to our remembrance.
3) Spiritual power is essential in driving out the forces of evil. The church calls on the power of God to keep giving us access to truth, hope, repentance and forgiveness, joy in the struggle, and creative ways to counter the forces of hate. There is no greater power than God’s love.
4) Politics is part of the problem. It can be part of the solution. Bans on assault rifles are overdue. So are limits on hateful rhetoric and lies. So are voting rights.
5) Community saves lives. The Tops massacre is devastating for so many reasons. One of them is that the community formed through that store was a lifeline. On the flip side, the shooter’s isolation helped him become radicalized. If you know someone who is isolated or desperate for human contact, please reach out to them. If you need a friend or help of any kind, please know the church is here for you.