Glen Guyton is executive director of Mennonite Church USA.
It is difficult to find the words as I turn on the news and see reports of our 22nd school shooting this year. This most recent school shooting moved me because it took place one hour outside of my hometown of Houston, Texas.
Violence against anyone is a terrible thing, but especially troubling when our children are the ones that suffer.
While school shootings are statistically rare, even one senseless shooting is too much. There are too many who are suffering from all kinds of violence here in our nation and around the world.
Although I am an African American male, I recognize the ways I have lived a relatively privileged life. I am blessed, or maybe just lucky in some cases, but I am a full recipient of God’s grace. Whether you’re like me, and haven’t directly suffered under violence, or if by God’s grace you have survived violence, we share an opportunity to be a blessing to our communities.
Together, we are Mennonite Church USA – a historic peace church committed to being a witness to God’s peace in our communities around the world.
Though some in our denomination continue to focus on issues that divide, I would challenge all of us to look beyond how we are different. Now more than ever, we need to focus on our mission – on living out our shared identity as followers of Jesus. How will you answer God’s call to bring healing and hope to communities that are facing violence? If we live into who God has called this church to be, we can make a difference.
“He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Luke 10:2 NRSV).
Our church has work to do. If you don’t believe me, turn on your TV. One thing I know for sure is that together we can do more.
If you need ideas, take the time to look over some of the resources provided by the Peace and Justice Support Network. Consider supporting the peace efforts of MC USA or the work of those in your local community.
My heart goes out to families that have experienced loss due to gun violence. On the eve of the pending North Korea-United States summit, I pray for our nation and the leaders who can influence peace and diplomacy around the globe. And I pray for MC USA, that we will remain faithful to the mission of this church and committed to sharing the love of Christ with all.