On Sunday we enter Holy Week, when we remember Jesus' ride into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, his arrest, interrogation, and crucifixion. It's rather strange and gruesome that at the center of our faith is the suffering and execution of the one whom we follow. It's bizarre that part of our pivotal story is a killing.
And yet, perhaps this central story of dying (and rising!) has endured for 2,000 years precisely because it speaks to our lives. We continue to kill one another. We continue to murder. We continue to cause our neighbors great suffering. The state continues to inflict unimaginable harm on our fellow human beings.
Our country has suffered two mass shootings in the past week. The images and stories from Atlanta and Boulder are almost unbearable. But as we know, these "high profile" events belie the fact that people are dying by guns in America every single day. In 2020, 20,000 Americans died by gun violence, more than any other year in two decades. And an additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun. 44,000 people dead due to a firearm! ("Shootings never stopped during the pandemic.") God, have mercy!
As we enter Holy Week, we are invited to look squarely at violence -- not an easy or comfortable thing to do. And yet, facing our part in violence, seeing the systems that uphold and sanction it, grieving and lamenting - as well as affirming our resurrection hope! - is who we are and what we do. May God continue to lead us on a path of peace.