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Advent - December 14th

By Rev. Kristine Eggert - Tuesday December 14, 2021

Tuesday, December 14th


This devotion is the written accompaniment to a video Advent message that can be viewed on our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.


Isaiah 11:6-9
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
          and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
Their young shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
          And the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
          On all my holy mountain;
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
          As the waters cover the sea.Kris Eggert

 

It’s December 14 -- our son and daughter-in-law’s 9th wedding anniversary.  Through the gifts of technology and a November deadline for this devotional, we’re with them in Seattle in their home that is a blaring cacophony of the sounds of a baby and a 3 year old – sounds that bring such joy to their grandparents’ ears!


December 14 brings another memory to mind, for it’s also the 9th anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. What began as an ordinary Friday morning changed the lives of the entire town of Newtown, CT, most especially the families of the 20 first-graders who were killed that day.  It could have been a day that changed the trajectory of gun violence in our country.  Sadly, it did not.  But I changed. I literally tore up the sermon I was going to preach that Sunday, deciding that no longer was it enough to offer thoughts and prayers for the victims.  It was time for those thoughts and prayers to lead to action.


It was then that the organization, God Before Guns, was birthed.  We said: EnoughNot One More.  Sadly, it wasn’t enough and so today, God Before Guns is still hard at the work of ending gun violence deaths– 109 people die every single day in. our country and double that number are injured.  The numbers have only increased during the Pandemic.


The numbers are so staggering that many people believe that there’s nothing that can be done.  That it’s too late.  There are just too many guns.  Our country’s leaders are unwilling to offer anything other than their thoughts and prayers.  So many times, those words said without any resulting change.  So many times, that those three words have become a sick joke.  The Urban Dictionary says thoughts and prayers are an expression of indifference to tragedy intended to be seen as empathetic.  Stop praying.  Do something!


I, too, have responded in anger to those 3 words.  But my more reasoned response is this.  It’s not an Either-or/Pray or Do Something.  No follower of Jesus can accept that the time for prayer has ended.


Recently, I recorded an interview with a young woman who is a survivor of gun violence and still dealing with daily limitations from her injuries from a shooting at her workplace 8 years ago.  Taylor Schumann is a lifelong Christian who grew up in gun culture in the south and now has written a book titled, When Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough.  Schumann says I have a complicated relationship with thoughts and prayers and writes:


I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe in praying for others and I am thankful every day for the people who have and continue to pray for me.  Every time I see a shooting on the news, I pause to pray, every time.  … It’s not the thoughts and prayers I’m tired of.  It’s pretending the thoughts and prayers are all we have to do and all we have to offer.  …. I ask all of us to imagine a world where we lay down the weapons of this world and try out the ways of Jesus for a change.  The worst that would happen?  We end up more like him and less like this world.[1]


I asked Taylor what sort of world she wanted for her 3-year-old son, Henry.  She answered without hesitation, a world where …kids go to school and they all come home.  She says this with her distracting, adorable, precious child climbing on the back of her shoulders.[2]


Today is Dec 14 and the devotional is from Isaiah 11 who describes a world in which:  The wolf shall live with the lamb, …and a little child shall lead them. 


A world in which God’s love is revealed. May our thoughts and prayers lead us to what we can do to help build such a world. Amen.

 

Rev. Kristine Eggert
Co-Founder and Director, God Before Guns
Regional Elder, District 2 Cleveland
pastorkriscleve@gmail.com

 

 

 



[1] Schumann, Taylor.  When Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough:  A Shooting Survivor’s Journey into the Realities of Gun Violence, 2021.  Intervarsity Press.  Pg. 202.

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OABtDRUlZ6o.  The portion I reference comes in the final 2 minutes of the interview. 



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