As I write this, high school students across southern Florida are marching in solidarity with the survivors of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Some students traveled hours by bus to the state capitol in Tallahassee to ask their representatives to prioritize children’s lives. Students who just days before were shot at with a legally purchased assault-style rifle watched from the gallery as the Florida House of Representatives voted down a motion to consider a ban on assault weapons. Other students walked many miles to Stoneman Douglas to stand with survivors. They are speaking out on social media, in news media, in all the places they can, demanding Never Again. Like Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables in the temple, these students are not pitching a fit, as some would accuse them, but are causing a holy disruption.
A society that allows this preventable violence and death to continue is not whole, and is not of God. We are accountable to one another, and especially to our children. The United Methodist Church’s stance against gun violence is clear in Resolution 3428 in the 2016 Book of Resolutions. Our role now is to hear the young peoples’ cries, follow their lead, support them with resources and avenues for their voices to be heard. This applies not only to the students in Florida but also to young people of color across the country demanding to be treated as if their lives matter, asking not to be deported or sent to prison for minor indiscretions. We know from the Bible that God’s prophets are not always those you’d expect. Listen, and hear God.