How Long, O Lord?
A word from Pastor Lex Liberatore on gun violence
Psalm 13 begins with these words: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” On the heels of yet another mass shooting by a young man with an assault weapon, I’m soul-sick and I’m angry. Not at God. God is doing fine. I’m mad at God’s creatures, specifically the ones who’ve made a career in elected office. These people make we want to scream.
And here comes another parade of platitudes. We’re about to be serenaded by everyone from the Texas governor to bloggers and pundits. One colleague sums up my feelings, “We don’t need your thoughts and prayers –we, the church, will take care of that on (your) behalf. We need (you) to lead.” Making hard choices because they serve the needs of all the people in their district - this isn’t what politicians do. Not anymore. It’s pay to play, and people in places like Buffalo and Uvalde don’t have enough cash for elected officials to care.
I remember a phone call I received just prior to the 2020 election. One of those professional telemarketers asked me what I felt was the most important issue facing this country. “Honor” was my answer. They didn’t know what to do with that response, and I wasn’t surprised. Honor hasn’t been a priority for elected officials for a good long time now. Especially when it comes to the easy access to weapons, like those used in Buffalo, Uvalde, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida and other locations made notorious because some person could obtain a gun that can kill dozens in minutes. We went from the need for a “well-regulated militia” after the Revolutionary War (cited as “the right to bear arms”) to almost anybody being able to buy anything short of a Howitzer. You can even 3-D print ‘em.
How long, O Lord? How long before we DEMAND limits, regulations, licenses, funding to support implementation, and dollars for mental health care and the unanimous public support of elected officials of all stripes to make it happen. Irma Garcia. Jackie Cazares. Amerie Jo Garza. Eva Mireles. Uziyah Garcia. Remember these names. Some of the 21 humans, mostly children aged 9-11, killed in the latest ‘angry young man’ rampage. And what about the Buffalo families? A racially motivated killing. Politicians won’t even touch that issue.
I have great compassion for everyone from the children who were killed, their parents and families, the classmates who survived and their families, teachers and staff, police officers who were shot and their families, and the neighbors who now have to live with the damage that will never go away. Even the shooter and his family. God is with them all. That’s where my thoughts and prayers are directed.
How long, O Lord? How long will we put up with the usual nonsense we will hear from every politico from coast to coast? There’ll be a loud, brief debate. Bills will be written for consideration – but never passed. Hands will be wrung. Platitudes will be uttered. Gun lobbyists will assemble. And most of the same useless politicians will get re-elected in November.
How long, O Lord? Here’s my answer: As long as it takes for “We the People” to DEMAND real, lasting action, in the name of God. Until we refuse to accept any more of their excuses. Jesus turned over the tables in the Temple for less.