Siblings in Christ,
Peace to you in the name of Christ.
I write to acknowledge and lament another mass-shooting, this time at an elementary school. There has been more than one mass-shooting in the US for every day of 2022.
As I heard the news, my heart knew there was nowhere to go but to my knees. Psalm 42 names it this way: “…tears have been my food.”
These are days of lament as we mourn with the people of Uvalde, TX. Early reports from the young man’s friends claim the shooter was the victim of constant bullying. We know the ripples of violence are unrelenting and call us not only to pray but to reflect theologically about our actions as we go forward.
We must live peaceably despite our woundedness. We must live together as people of sacred worth but also with the humble knowledge we are broken people. Jesus calls us to imagine living a healing balance of dominance and non-dominance. Even as he was being arrested, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. May God help us live into the moral imagination of an interdependent good.
We must imagine corporate solutions that manage the needs of all and respect the lives of all. We are covenant people who are formed by the promises we make as we baptize: to renounce the forces of wickedness and accept the power God gives us to resist injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
Consider the Council of Bishops Statement as you respond with your own prayer and action.
I am grateful Wesleyan theology would have us see demands for both personal and social holiness as our response of faith. May God find us faithful.
Grace and peace to you.
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop, Wisconsin Conference UMC
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).