“We are an Easter people. And Alleluia is our cry.” - St. Augustine
Life is so beautiful. The glories of every sunrise, every sunset, every full moon, every starlit sky. The joy of all those children, neighbors, the Earth, our pets, our friends, the sense of accomplishment or congratulations for a job well done, that A on that test.
And, life is so hard. So, so much to do. There are bills to pay, schedules to keep, prayers to say, work and chores to do, places to go, school, church, family matters, friends, our pets, our children, our neighbors, our earth.
Life: So hard and so beautiful. One must treasure all these things, as the beauty cannot be appreciated without the hard work. The hard work’s reward is the joy and beauty we see and experience every day.
Life: Not to be squandered or wasted. Each moment of the hard stuff and the beautiful stuff is a treasure. The cumulative experience of all these things is how we will be remembered when we are gone.
Life: So precarious. Accidents, crime, poor health, unsafe living conditions, risk and adventure, carelessness, mistakes, violence, temptation, lack of housing, food, health care. So many ways for things to go wrong and for life to be replaced by death.
And, despite all our knowledge and all the resources we have in this great country, we are not helping ourselves. We continue to allow the ravages of gun violence and the opioid crisis to take our loved ones. Mass shootings and over doses are becoming the norm. Our collective desensitization to these human- borne tragedies is the hallmark by which this generation will be remembered if we do not begin to make some changes today. Thoughts and prayers are not enough.
As you read this, it will have been a week since roughly one million people marched across the country to increase awareness and prompt action to stop gun violence. Perhaps this mobilization, which was led by the youth of America, will motivate our legislators to act with courage and conviction. This is not about violating second amendment rights, it is about saving lives - and it is about time! To keep the momentum going, please reach out to your elected officials now.
It’s not just gun violence that is killing us. There are more cases of drug overdoses in the USA than gun deaths. At the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, we have begun the process of researching and writing a resolution for the 32nd General Synod that will address the opioid crisis and drug overdoses in this country. You are invited to assist with the process and co-sponsor the resolution. Email email@example.com if you would like to shape the language around this initiative.
It is about time we stop killing ourselves with guns and drugs. It is also about time we stop killing ourselves through domestic violence, LGBTQ violence, human trafficking, poor self- care and all the other ways that we abuse the gift of life that God has granted us. It is also time to focus on mental health issues, depression and suicide and all the other social justice issues that are affecting our society negatively.
We have been blessed by the action of our youth in response to gun violence. Now, let’s use that energy to keep the movement going and to allow it to progress to other important issues. Easter is the time of year we think about Resurrection and when we remember to say Alleluja. So, there is hope and there is time and it is about time. Alleluja!
Michael J. Readinger is President and CEO, UCC Council for Health & Human Service Ministries.