Thursday, August 15th, 2019
I am nearly 6000 miles away and eight hours ahead of all of you who are reading this back home. Despite the physical distance, news of a shooting in Philadelphia made its way here. Just around midnight last night, the gunman involved in the shooting surrendered to police after shooting six officers.
Today, as I kneel in prayer in the Holy Land, I am remembering those that were injured; their loved ones who waited in fear to find out if they were okay; and an entire neighborhood that was on lockdown while this scenario played out.
It is repeatedly asked how much more of this can happen before something is done. And, I find myself thinking about this again.
We cannot ignore that too often gun crime has an unholy link to those gripped by addiction, to those who struggle for food security, and to those forced to the margins. It is a dynamic that can be seen in all of our communities – this scourge has affected all: urban and rural, those with means and without, men and women, children and the elderly.
I am reminded of Fleming Rutledge’s words at our clergy conference that we are witnessing capital ‘S’ sin - not simply the sin of an individual, but the Sin of humanity in a broken world.
How long before we as a community acknowledge and repent of this Sin against those most vulnerable among us? How many people have to die before we as a society do something about violence, drugs, poverty, neglect? Every day that passes without action leads us deeper into the pit of Sin. But our call is not only to hide ourselves in the identify of Christ, but also to serve the least among us.
We must embody the hope, peace and love of the one we follow - Jesus Christ. Only when we embody his peace for all, will we truly find peace for ourselves.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania