Wednesday, September 24
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Global Week of Action against Gun Violence/Season of Peace
Action against Gun Violence
Minute for Mission
Today’s lectionary reading from Acts notes that for three months Paul entered the synagogue and “argued persuasively about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8b). We pray for the kingdom every Sunday, but are we ready to argue and plead for it in God's house? Is there anything more urgent to argue or plead for than what God's reign would look like in our cities and towns?
Eighty percent of all gun deaths in the developed world occur in the United States. The number for children’s gun deaths is even worse, at 87 percent. Should not these facts motivate us to be bold like the apostle Paul and set us arguing and pleading for God’s shalom to take form in our cities and towns? And shouldn’t the arguing and pleading happen in God’s house, where the incredible worth of each human life is central to all we stand for?
A minister asked the youth who were studying the Lord’s Prayer in his confirmation class, “What is the kingdom of God?” One young fellow volunteered, “I think it’s God’s tomorrow, which is kind of here today already.” The fact that we have a week of action against gun violence is a sign that God’s tomorrow is here among us already.
For decades, faith communities in the United States have been quiet about 30,000 gun deaths per year because we felt such arguing and pleading was inappropriate in God’s house. Today, after experiencing 130 separate school shootings since Columbine, including the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, thousands of faith communities are realizing that our lack of such arguing and pleading is what is really inappropriate. As followers of Jesus, it is our joy to be claimed by God’s tomorrow and muster the courage to argue and plead about the reign of God that is “kind of here already.”
—James E. Atwood, advocate in gun-violence prevention for 39 years
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Dreama Reams, PMA
Rev. James Reese, FDN
Let us pray
O God of love greater than we can imagine, teach us how to love all your children as you have loved us, especially those who suffer and die unnecessarily. Give us boldness to argue and plead for your reign, especially in your house. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.