Responding to Violence as People of Faith
On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I (Sara) remember thinking then, surely, this will lead to public outrage and there will never be another mass shooting in our country again.
I was wrong.
We were wrong.
In 2019 alone, there have been 250 mass shootings in our country as of this writing. One reporter in Tennessee noted we’ve had more mass shootings in our country than days in the year. (August 4th was Day 216.)
Let that sink in.
If it is sobering, it should be.
The unfortunate reality is this: we’ve been writing about responding to violence and hatred for years. That is not a badge of honor. It is a sad reality that must change.
The following resources are offered to help you navigate this time as a leader. The cities, circumstances, and names of victims vary, but the challenge to our society remains.
Tim Bias and Sara Thomas
Resources on Transforming Mission
11 Reflections on Responding to Violence
- A Response to Violence: Part 1
- A Response to Violence: Part 2
- A Response to Violence: Part 3
- A Response to Violence: Part 4
- A Response to Violence: Part 5
- Hope in Uncertain Times
- What is Our Response?
- Holy Week Terror: Pause, Pray, and Wait
- Can We Be Forgiven?
- A Call to Ordinary Courage
Prayer & Prayer Resources
30 Days of Prayer (use the arrows on the right to navigate to the next day)
These prayers were written at the beginning of 2017. Let us remind you, prayer is timeless.
A Prayer in Response to Acts of Violence
A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
Resources to Contact Your Elected Officials
US Senators for the 116th Congress (2019)
US House of Representatives (note the search box in the upper right-hand corner)
You local city officials can usually be found by a simple Google search.
Share the Love
We’ll offer one last suggestion. Remind the first responders, community leaders, teachers, and/or government officials in your community that you appreciate their service.
For many of the above individuals, their daily life involves being put in harm’s way. Often, the cost is high. Reach out to someone in your local community and remind them they are loved and appreciated. Not sure what to do?
7 Ways You Can Share God’s Love
- Write a note of thanks on the back of a postcard to a police officer
- Write a prayer on a notecard and mail it to a firefighter
- Say thank you to a teacher. Do it in writing.
- Personalize a psalm of thanksgiving for an EMT
- Send a thank you along with a written story of witnessing the service of a community leader
- Express gratitude and care for your local government officials
- Remind someone you see in service today that they are appreciated. Simply say, “Thank you.”
It doesn’t have to be a long letter or note. It doesn’t have to be a grand speech. But it does need to happen.
Saying “Thank you” or”I’m thinking of you” can be as simple as that, “thank you.” You also don’t have to wait until tragedy strikes. As you already know, everyday work has its own challenges. Let someone know you noticed their act of service today.
Finally, your note/action doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. If you have children or grandchildren, they can participate, too. Your note or words of encouragement and care are appreciated more than you know.
Soon, we’ll begin offering a downloadable card/postcard to recognize one person each month to shower them with God’s love. But, you don’t need to wait for us to get started. Use the resource above. Then, sign-up here to be notified about “Share God’s Love.”
We welcome your nominations for people who serve our communities that could use a little extra love from all of us. Simply email us at email@example.com to nominate someone and we’ll share the next steps.
What are you waiting for? Go Share God’s Love!
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