When I worked in the Senate, Chaplain Barry Black offered a Friday Bible study for staffers. He often turned to a paraphrase of Proverbs 21:31 when wrestling with the tension between trusting God and trusting in human works. He would encourage us to "trust God to win the war, but prepare your horse for battle."
I have been so inspired by how I have seen people of faith prepare to do battle with one of the most entrenched and powerful interest groups in the history of American politics – the National Rifle Association.
It will be a battle. But our perseverance is owed to those communities that have long resembled battlefields. Our perseverance is owed to the families who have been told that their loss is necessary, collateral damage outweighed by the perceived need to own handguns and assault weapons.
We have many allies in this fight. Movements and communities that have long been at the work of fighting for safer communities. Just this past Saturday I joined over a thousand people on the National Mall – all of us deeply moved by the witness of survivors and life long workers in the struggle to limit our capacity for violence. I was inspired! I trust that this war will be won - that God would have our communities liberated from these tools designed to end life. We will remember that we are a people called to abundant life - abundant life that leaves no room for the violence enabled by hand guns and assault weapons.
My friend Chett Pritchett, Interim Executive Director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, shared recently that:
"The witness of those who gathered on the National Mall affirms that all humans are created in God's image. We live out this basic theological concept by calling for a ban on military-style assault weapons, a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines, mandatory background checks, and closing private purchasing loopholes. This is a witness from thousands of citizens that life in God’s beloved community is a gift to be safeguarded."
And we will march in the streets, we will preach in our pulpits, we will pray for and with our political leadership. You can take action today by signing the petition found here.
You can take action next week by participating in the Interfaith Call-in Day scheduled for February 4th. Details are available here.
And you can help us to keep building this movement, by encouraging your parishioners, neighbors, friends and family to not let the urgency of this work fade. We are opposed by principalities and powers who believe we will fail. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Adam Briddell is an associate pastor at Bethesda United Methodist Church, has graduate degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary and Georgetown University, and worked for Senator Michael B. Enzi on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Read more from Adam at http://proverbialjustice.