Given By Rev. Madison Shockley October 8, 2017

The events in Las Vegas, where 59 people lost their lives and more than 500 wounded, motivate today’s sermon. The passage from Judges asks us if such an horrific event has ever happened. It asks us to think about what is going on in the world and to speak out. Just as in the passage, we have been betrayed by one of our own people. He was not a foreigner but an American. The passage from Matthew reminds us that those who take the sword shall die by the sword. This is a message for our culture of violence and weaponry.  It is hard to contemplate how someone could do such a thing, let alone one of our own citizens. We attempt to place these killers into some marginalized box (mentally ill, radical) to separate them from us. This allows us to not confront what is going on in our culture. If someone so like ourselves could do this, we are all in deep trouble. We need to change our culture. Just like the anti-smoking campaign of the 20th century, we need an anti-violence/anti-weapon campaign for the 21st century.  All we need to do is decide it is necessary. Whether we can succeed becomes moot then. We only must try. Speak out!