We call Jesus the “Prince of Peace”. It’s there in our Christmas carols. It’s there in our church services. It’s even right there on our Christmas cards. We know who Christ is, and this time of year we repeat that phrase again and again. This year especially. After Newtown, we need the Prince of Peace more than ever. We pray, we sing, we call out to Christ asking for that peace right now.
But calling out means nothing if we are not ourselves peaceful people. Because if we call ourselves Christians, if we want to claim that Christ is the Prince of Peace, then we cannot remain silent in a culture of violence.
I know a lot of responsible gun owners. I live in a community with many hunters who practice gun safety. I have friends who have handguns and go to shooting ranges. And, while I personally don’t want any guns, I’m not judging them here.
But no one needs an assault rifle. No civilian needs something that was created for the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible as quickly as possible. These guns were constructed for one reason and one reason only: to destroy human life.
Spare me the arguments about what will happen if only criminals, and not law abiding citizens, have assault rifles. Spare me your stories of what a good shot you are, and how you could have stopped this. Spare me your explanations about why Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, yet he wouldn’t tell you to put away your AR-15. Spare me your worship of a piece of steel.
Spare me John Wayne. I want Jesus Christ.
In Advent you cannot prepare your hearts for Christmas, you cannot claim to long for the Prince of Peace, and then simultaneously continue to worship something designed to rack up the highest possible death toll. You cannot wait for the birth of a child full of promise, while simultaneously not thinking about those twenty children who were full of promise in Newtown. And you can’t sing the line “sleep in heavenly peace” if you are not willing to do everything you can to make sure that no parent ever again has to endure sleepless nights, wracked with grief, the week before Christmas.
Oh Prince of Peace, we need you. And we need your courage now. Help those of us who claim your name to also claim your demand for peace. Amen.