Last night my twelve-year-old son crawled in bed with me. For him, that happens, well like, never. The night before, our community yet again was hit by gun violence. This time, my son’s middle school classmate was killed. We knew yesterday morning that a twelve-year-old was killed, but we didn’t know if the boy attended the same school. My husband told our son on the way to school that a boy was shot and killed. The first words my son said to me when he got home from school was, “he was in my science class.”
My son is angry, sad and scared. Angry that his middle school only had a moment of silence; angry over the taking of precious life. He is angry that our community has become so use to violence that this tragedy will just be added to the pile. He is sad for the life not lived and for the parents and family that are in great despair. And he is scared that there is no safe place for him or anyone.
My son's words were so mature, so full of emotion. I told him it was a good time to express himself in song. He got on the computer to create his music. He made the track and then could not find the words to rap. Maybe he will find the words in the next couple of days.
As a mother and a pastor, this tragedy has brought me to my knees. Last night we prayed, thanking God for the boy’s life and love that he brought to his family. We asked God for peace and strength for the boy’s family, the middle school students and for my son. Today I will finish my sermon for Sunday about prayer. After last night, I’m not sure what to say. Yes, pray, but at this point, pray and get to work. This violence has to stop. Now more than ever, we need to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus Christ. We must be one people as God intended. In John 17:11, Jesus prayed for us, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
This boy’s death is not someone else’s problem, not someone else’s tragedy. It is our tragedy, humanity's tragedy. Whether we admit it or not, we are all connected. We are all one. We must be God’s witness in this world. Our witness must be one of community and love. We have a lot of work to do.
Now, let’s pray and get to work.