By Pastor Tom Anderson
A community prayer meeting was held in Uvalde after the shootings there. About a thousand people gathered to worship and pray led by local pastors. I was struck by these comments reported in the news:
“The only way we can fix this country is to get down on our knees and humble ourselves before God,” said Jennifer Fry, who came with her husband and two young children. “I am here to support this community and to ask God to heal our land.” Wow.
And from a young teen: “I’m not that religious, but my mother wanted me to come to be a part of the community,” said Christina Bingham, a high school sophomore. “It helps to be here more than I thought it would.” Wow again.
Generally speaking, godless people commit godless acts. At what point do we as a society begin to look into our own souls? At what point do we begin to question our casual atheism and neglect of the Christian Church? At what point do we admit that the spiritual and moral fiber of our civilization are unraveling?
We are still learning about the motivations of this shooter–and all such shooters–but something about our society is producing them in increasing numbers. It corresponds with the decline of the church, family and marriage as key institutions in our civilization. The result is the growing prevalence of young people who struggle with meaning, lack moral grounding and live without hope. This would be the fertile ground for depression, addiction, suicide and school shootings.
If life has no meaning, why not take it? Why not end it? If morality is only what I want it to be, why not act on my darkest impulses? If there is no future to hope for, why not go out in a gun battle? The messages from society from schools, media and government are not so subtly godless: anti-church, anti-family, anti-marriage. The children are listening, learning and in recent years, more of them are beginning to act accordingly.
We need God! We need God in our personal lives but equally important we need God in our public life. It’s a prevailing belief in God that provides a fabric of meaning that benefits all people–even the unbelievers. It’s a prevailing belief in God that provides an authoritative moral guardrail that benefits all people–even the unbelievers. It’s a prevailing belief in God that is the ground of hope essential to life–the conviction that life has a destination beyond death. God is the foundation for human thriving. We’ve been actively removing this foundation in all kinds of ways.
All of this is why I pour myself into the church and its ministries. This isn’t a hobby for me–it's the means to re-evangelize our country. Now more than ever, our nation needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is the current church up to the task? Is the current church not also stuck in a distracted mode of neglect and apathy? We must all look into our souls and find the motivation to go out into the fields around us and reach people for Christ. God is counting on us. We are his plan. He gave us our mission to make disciples. It will take decades to restore the spiritual fabric of our communities–so much has been taken for granted and lost. We can’t afford to waste any more time. Jesus says, “Go!” (Matthew 28:18-20)