Sometimes in the middle of all of this fear and worry and people’s conviction that somehow guns, lots of guns, will make them safe, I think of how Jesus of Nazareth handled the fear and worry of being a Jew in an occupied state, how he handled the fear and worry of confronting established power.
How he had something more powerful.
I think of how he didn’t travel armed to the hilt. How he could easily have raised an army to defend himself. That he knew he was in a precarious situation, one in which he was a target, one in which powerful people were actively looking to kill him.
I look at how he went peacefully when he was betrayed and the Romans arrested him. How he didn’t fight back. How he didn’t ask his followers to amass weapons and break him out of captivity.
I think of how he willingly went to his crucifixion, to his death.
And I wonder if he is an example for me.
I think he is.
Peter and Paul and the disciples followed his lead. They didn’t travel in armed bands. They didn’t resist arrest. They traveled and spoke in peace.
Instead of weapons they, like Jesus, carried “good news.” News of hope and redemption and forgiveness and love.
That’s what I try to remember when I’m afraid.
That’s what I try to remember when gun debates swirl around me, when people are terrified of mass shootings and terrorist plots.
I remember the good news of hope and redemption and forgiveness and love.
And I try to live those values even in the middle – especially in the middle – of all of this fear and worry and the belief in guns and weapons and their power.
Because I know that’s not where power is at all.
I know that true power is in hope and redemption and forgiveness and love.
And that’s why I can put down my fears and worries and go out each day and see people as my brothers and sisters.
Brothers and sisters who might need some good news of hope and redemption and forgiveness and love.
I see myself in them.
And I have the examples of Jesus and Peter and Paul and all of the others.
Examples that fear does not win.
Examples that the spreading of good news peacefully is the most powerful of all.
And I believe in that good news, that news of hope and redemption and forgiveness and love.
And I feel called to follow. To spread this good news. Even . . . especially . . . in the middle of this fear and worry and arming with weapons.