Nobody was really listening. Truth be told, most of the folks occupying the pews couldn’t hear even if they wanted to. Regardless, the preacher is going to preach. That’s what he gets paid to do. If you’d been there long enough, you knew everybody that could possibly come through the door. Even the most troubled souls had been there before. In the midst of such an environment, the church decided that guns were necessary to protect them from whatever demons they preferred to keep out. The mind has to quickly wonder what demons they might have been thinking about. Fear has a way of creating problems when they are not there. Guns are a product of our fear…not of our courage. Fearful people seem to attract fearful people.
I can’t imagine Jesus carrying a gun in any circumstance. If he had, the gospel would have been lost…one cannot love their neighbor as they love themselves while placing a gun between them. Can you imagine the disciples summarily executing anyone that got in their way? The message of Jesus was never about violence…the message was about love…love always overcoming fear. God has always been found in sacrifice…even if it means our life. Jesus didn’t have a security team. Jesus didn’t carry a gun. Jesus recklessly loved the least of these…the shooter being a prime example…and was always prepared to die.
The hero or responding shooter keeps calling the shooter “demon” or the “evil.” In the midst of sin, such dehumanizing language is always necessary. It helps one be at peace with taking the life of another. I would imagine that the shooter would use similar language if he had survived. Quite frankly, I don’t believe there is any difference between the two. They both came to church prepared to take a life.
In the end, Jesus is with the shot…not the shooter.
+++May the departed rest in the arms of love perpetual.