When I was a kid there was a novelty Christmas song called, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” I remember singing the song when my own teeth had fallen out. I think I sang it often enough that my mother was thinking of buying dentures for me just to shut me up!
Well, this year I want something for Christmas that is a bit more serious than waiting for my teeth to grow in. This year, what I really want for Christmas is an end to gun violence. Gun violence has become a plague in our country. According to the BradyCampaign.com statistics, 297 people are shot EVERY DAY, and 89 people die from gun violence: EVERY DAY!
Three years ago we were shocked by the death of 26 people, most of them small children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. At that time many of us thought that something would have to be done, but nothing has changed. Since then there have been 1,044 mass shootings, 1,327 people have died, and 3,784 have been wounded. Shootings on college campuses are becoming so common that they could even become normal.
We cannot allow that to happen. We have to speak up. We have to do what we can to end gun violence. Now, I don’t expect to get an end to gun violence for Christmas, but I do intend to do what I can to effect change in our lifetimes. Towards that end I have formed a team to begin offering a weekly Prayer Vigil to End Gun Violence.
The purpose of this prayer vigil is to keep the issue front and center in our awareness, to pray for inspiration and guidance, to inspire one another to act to effect change, and to offer prayer for the victims of gun violence. My hope is that we can create a space where everyone, from pacifists who would never touch a gun to gun collectors and gun enthusiasts, can come together to work towards the shared goal of ending gun violence. We will pray, engage in non-violent actions, and search for solutions to this plague afflicting our country.
The first Prayer Vigil to End Gun Violence will be on Thursday, January 7th, at 6:00PM at St. Dunstan’s Church. The Prayer Vigil will last half an hour and will include music, prayer, conversation, and time for reflection. After the service there will be a time for conversation and sharing ideas. Our plan is to hold the vigil every week at the same time.
Yours in Christ,