Dear ones of the Southeastern Iowa Synod,
The shooting on Tuesday, May 24 at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas is a tragedy. Lives were lost, hearts are broken, families are shattered, another school district and community are reeling in shock and horror, and this combined with the recent and growing list of mass shootings – plus the growing list of shootings in our own synod makes this tragic news heavy and unbearable.
So unbearable that it could be easier to look away, to move on to the next news item, or to wait for the next tragedy, yet, here we are bearing witness to violence, death, and evil again. You may be experiencing a whole array of reactions -dismay, anger, sadness, despair, grief, fear, emptiness, confusion, overwhelm. Thoughts and prayers may seem empty, but we must pause and pray, wailing with the mourners, ‘How long, O Lord?’, while clinging to the promise of God, who is making all things new in Christ.
Even amid tragedy, we, as Christians, are people of hope. “Hope causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience […] Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is…” Hope in Christ calls us to advocate for peace, for mercy, for an end to violence, and for safety. Hope in Christ calls us to stand with the suffering, the grieving, the hurting, the first responders, the medical teams, the social workers, the teachers, the school board, the families, the surviving children, and the family of the shooter. Hope in Christ calls us to engage this complex issue in our homes, our communities, and even in our congregations so that we, as Christians and as citizens, may work together with local, state, and federal leaders toward safety and peace.
As we pray for our siblings in Christ in Uvalde and the SW TX Synod, ELCA, I encourage you and your congregation in the coming days and weeks to find ways to share our hope in Christ, to act, to pray, to mourn, and to be restless about the realities of violence in our world. I am including a few resources that may be helpful as you get started.
Peace be with you,
Bishop Amy Current
Southeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA
 Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Eschatology
ELCA: A 60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence, this resource includes a litany and a short study for each day that reflects on ELCA statements, letters, and scripture.
Women of the ELCA: Rachel’s Day Women boldly standing for children, this is a short study, concrete actions to take, and a litany about gun violence and children
- Diana Butler Bass: A Risk of Prayer, a call to use this litany this week in worship