Today is the 4th day of August; it is the 216th day of the year. As of this morning, there have been 251 mass shootings in this country. Day 216; mass shootings 251. More than on per day. Yesterday morning, families in El Paso were doing their back to school shopping; many of them at Wal-Mart, when yet another young white male walked in with a military assault rifle and began firing indiscriminately. So far, 20 people have died and at least 26 were wounded. El Paso officials are concerned that some people may have been wounded but are afraid to go to hospital because their immigration status is questionable. A hatred-filled manifesto has been found allegedly by the shooter with racist language about a “Hispanic invasion” of El Paso.
If this were not heart-breakingly deadly, it would be funny; the Spanish were in El Paso for a century before the Mayflower ever landed the first English settler on this land. Racism released by rhetoric from a supposed leader of our country who fans the flames of bigotry and hatred and then pretends to be innocent of the carnage his words have inflicted.
Early this morning in Dayton, Ohio, another shooter. This time 9 dead, at least 16 wounded; again, military assault rifle, multiple ammo magazines holding large numbers of rounds. Nothing to do with hunting or target shooting. Only purpose of this equipment is to kill people.
My heart breaks for the wounded, and for the families grieving the death of innocent children, for parents buying back to school clothes for their families.
Those we have elected to represent us mumble thoughts and prayers, but nothing will be done.
Nothing will be done because almost all of them have been bought and paid for by the NRA— once upon a time an organization of hunters and target shooters, now receiving almost all of its budget from the gun industry; its second biggest donor being Russia—an adversary nation whose leader once stood in the chamber of the United Nations and swore that his country would destroy ours from within. His warnings appear to be coming to full light.
Nothing will be done to see that we have health care for every person in the country because the for-profit health insurance industry and Pharmaceutical industries spend 50 million dollars and more to pay for those elected officials who are supposed to represent us but instead represent their corporate owners.
Is it ironic, or is it a message from GOD that today’s Gospel reading speaks to greed? “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” But we have reached a place in this country where the wealthiest individuals and corporations own Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency, and operate those as wholly-owned subsidiaries of their own profit-making machinery. Nothing will change until this changes: until the influence of billions of dollars of bribes is removed from politics, those seeking election will not do what is best for the most of us but will do their master’s bidding.
God save us.
Dear GOD almighty;
Here we are again—we have allowed greed, lust for power and evil to run us over. We sat quietly while the devils took control. Now our inactivity has come to flower and we are stunned by what we experience every day.
Where did we go wrong? How did we allow this to happen? Were we just not paying attention while greed and corruption took over? Or have we been complicit in this coup because of our laziness and inattention?
But here we stand, GOD; in need of rescue yet again. Grant us backbones, grant us courage, grant us willful outrage and purposeful anger to sweep away the powers of evil and restore justice, peace, and sanity to our land again. We know you well enough to know better than to ask you to fix things while we sit back and watch. We know that you guide, strengthen, inspire, encourage, and motivate, and but that it must be our hands, our voices, our votes that make the changes. Provoke us to get off our backs and demand an end to this evil. Send us into the streets and into the polling booths to demand a return to justice for all with favoritism and partiality toward none.
Stir up within us as much fervor for defending the defenseless ones whose names we do not know as we have energy to pray for our family and friends. Let there be no difference between our love for the least as we have for our own.
Let your people find you again; and find once again, our purpose as children of yours, followers of Jesus Christ. AMEN
A post by the Rev. Dr. William Barber reminded me of a Harry Emerson Fosdick hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory
Cure your children’s warring madness, bend our pride to your control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss your kingdom’s goal
Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the search for your salvation be our glory ever more.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage lest we fail our call from you.