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Lenten Devotional - day 29

As children keep dying I write this letter to you friend during Lent:

As I sit down to write this, I find that my heart is heavy with grief and sadness over the recent school shooting that has once again shaken our nation; but will doubtlessly not shaken us enough to change anything.

It is hard for me to fathom the pain and loss that the families of the victims are going through. We hear about the deaths, we talk about thoughts and prayers (however, I doubt very much that many in power think about it much, and doubt even more that they pray for it to end in a sincere way). And, therefore, it is harder even for me to imagine how we as a society will move forward from these tragedies.

But since we are in Lent, I am reminded of the call to repentance, and the possibility of transformation; both on an individual and communal level.

As we reflect on our lives and society during this season of repentance, we know we are called to consider how we can work towards repentance and transformation as a society. It's easy to point fingers and assign blame in the aftermath of a tragedy like this, but true repentance goes beyond simply placing blame. It requires a recognition of our own shortcomings as a society and a commitment to making things right.

I’ve been leading my church’s Bible study on the book of Judges—a book many consider the worst book of the Bible. And, yesterday we focused on Judges 19—a chapter I personally consider the worst chapter in the Bible. In its horror, it reminds us of the dangers of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. It’s a warning that is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. It’s a call to repentance and transformation that reminds us we can no longer simply consider what we think is right or wrong, but we must turn to God’s justice, righteousness, shalom, compassion, and love.

I look at the machinations of our nation, the bitter divide among parties, the way we argue about social media platforms and what children read—while never dealing with the issue that children are dying—and I mostly feel powerless in the face of it. But, I must trust that there is something I can do, something you can do to work towards repentance and transformation in our communities.

I write that and I want to believe it. I want to believe we can do something, because the sad fact is, I am not sure I am doing more than thoughts and prayers. Somehow I can reach out to those in pain. Somehow I can offer comfort and be a voice of support. Somehow I can work towards creating a society that is rooted in love, justice, and compassion.

I won’t stop praying. Not because I think my prayer will change this world, but because I hope my prayer will change me. And, if I am changed, perhaps those around me will see they can change. And, if they change, perhaps those around them can change. And, if they change… maybe the world can change.

I know you care my dear friend. I know the work you do. And, may our Lenten journeys transform us so we do not give up fighting the good fight. There is a cost to this though. One that most religious people refuse to pay. One that Jesus paid. It may cost me my life. Will I do it? Will I pray that I can? Will you pray for me?
I love you,