For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

— from Psalm 139:13-16 (NRSV)
 

Lent is a time of spiritual renewal, a time to reflect on the life and death of Christ. Such reflection draws us inward, reminding us of our human emptiness as we long for God’s restoration in the promise of Easter.  

In this season of Lent, as we examine our collective life as a society, MCC recognizes the hostilities and violence in our hearts and actions. This comes in contrast to the fullness we know God longs for us to have. We know God wants all God’s children to have abundant life (John 10:10), which includes life that is free of violence. In the U.S., more than 100,000 people are shot each year, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths – through murder, suicide and accidents. Since we believe God has made all people in God’s image, we also believe that God mourns whenever life is lost.

We understand that we must act to showcase God’s heart and mind for peace. A recent MCC resource, A Loaded Conversation, offers tools for worship, action and structured conversation around this difficult issue. We may not all agree on how best to regulate guns, but we commit to remaining in conversation. Furthermore, we can agree that the killing of God’s children is wrong. In this Lenten season, we invite you to join us in prayer, education and action regarding hostilities in our hearts and lives.

MCC will continue to provide educational resources for churches, organizations and schools around active peacemaking, such as A Loaded Conversation. MCC will seek out places to facilitate conversations that help further Christian peacemaking. During these weeks of Lent, MCC will partner with Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin’s Beating Guns tour to offer educational opportunities to our constituent communities throughout the country. This tour will offer a space to reflect on the hostilities in our hearts as well as learn about gun violence in the U.S. and creative solutions in which your church can participate.

Silvia Rios, West Coast MCC staff member, shares about the grief her family has experienced losing a family member to an act of gun violence. MCC photo/Krystal Klaassen

Children painting a peace mural at the Beating Guns Tour event in Fresno, California.  Event was held at Butler Mennonite Brethren Church.  MCC photo/Krystal Klaassen

MCC believes that each human being is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. We will continue work for peace instead of bowing to the violence of the world. We will partner with others, educate, and pray to God, so that violence will cease.

MCC will continue to accompany and support churches and organizations that prevent violence involving guns and work with those traumatized by violence in the U.S. and around the world. MCC will witness publicly about our concern through advocacy at the state and federal levels. MCC will partner with other churches and organizations to reduce violence in all of its forms.

MCC invites others to join in praying

  • Confess the hostilities and fears in our hearts and actions.
  • Organize community and/or church vigils focused around violence with guns.
  • Pray for families that are impacted by gun violence.
  • Pray for leaders as they guide conversations on these challenging issues.

MCC invites others to join in learning

  • Ask a local authority on peacemaking to come speak to your community or church group.
  • Plan to use A Loaded Conversation, worship and learning resources recently created and collected by MCC.
  • Visit organizations and churches that are working in the midst of violence to learn root causes.
  • Attend a Beating Guns tour stop near you to learn how other Christians are responding to violence in their lives and in their communities.

MCC invites others to join in acting

Over 200 people attended the Beating Guns Tour event in Fresno, Calif., held at Butler Mennonite Church. The guns shown on the floor were being prepared to be molded into a garden tool. MCC photo/Krystal Klaassen

MCC believes that each human being is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. We will continue work for peace instead of bowing to the violence of the world. We will partner with others, educate, and pray to God, so that violence will cease.  

Written by Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S., and Krista Dutt, MCC Great Lakes
March 6, 2019

Photos courtesy of RAWtools — an organization that partners with communities to repurpose weapons for lifelong productive functions.

Make a difference