Dear Parishioners,

On February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, a day known for expressing love, we saw pure evil; the killing of students and adults in a Florida high school. These mass shootings are becoming much too frequent. As we watched this event play out before us, many questions and much discussion followed. What was the shooter’s motive? How could this have been prevented? The topic of preventive gun control was brought up. We heard that certain weapons should be banned. We heard that some individuals should not be allowed to purchase guns. We heard the 2nd Amendment, freedom to bear arms, discussed. The whole issue of mental illness and the question of medicating our young entered into the conversation. There was the mention of if you “see something, say something.” Some asked “What about the efforts of social workers?” Others asked, “Should we have armed guards at our schools?” After we have these mass shootings, all these questions and topics are asked and discussed but little is done. We move on until the next shooting. Most of the shootings were rooted in the mental illness of the perpetrator, which is difficult to have control over. You cannot know when one will act out violently.

There is no easy answer. For most of us, we feel helpless to make an impact. We grieve for the victims and their families. We fear for our own safety because we do not feel safe anywhere, be it a concert, a shopping mall, a church, a school, a theater, or even just walking down the street. This is the world we live in. Perhaps there is something we can do. It may be small, but it may accomplish much. The most recent shooting happened on Valentine’s Day, a day to express love to your sweetheart. That is what we can do. We can love. Isn’t this what Jesus commanded us to do?

Jesus told us to love one another. To do this, we must let God be our first and primary relationship. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has turned away from God. We have taken God out of the public arena. Maybe adding prayer back in school would be a good step. How about going to worship on the Sabbath and Sunday? Why not put God back in His place?

We are called to love not only those we like, but as Jesus says, to even love our enemies. Why not turn away from the violence that we create by our bullying, harsh words, and destructive anger. Why not be a person of love and peace in the places where we are present. I wonder what God is saying to us? Is He saying, “I gave you My commandments to protect and provide for you. Why are you so deaf to My Word or so blind to see the answer to this evil?” After a tragedy such as the Florida school shooting, we ask so many questions and give so many reasons. All our experts will give their answers. We will hear our politicians and our Hollywood gurus spout their wisdom. Let’s get to the real answer to our social problem from the One who is the true expert, for He is our Creator. He is the One who knows what we need. He offers His commandments to guide us. It is simple. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. What if everyone was to do that?

The DVD series, “The Footprints of God,” will be continuing on Tuesday, February 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the hall.

May Jesus continue to shepherd you in all of your needs.

God love you,