If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (New International Version)
I know that God is in agony over the nearly 60 lives lost and those hundreds of people fighting for their lives because of the shooting that occurred this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The many victims of what is now considered the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in recent history include the colleagues, neighbors, and loved ones of many of us here in the California-Pacific Conference region.
We have been left with trying to make sense of a totally senseless act of violence. Not only will we continue to ask the questions of how and why, what and where, for ourselves, we will have to guide our children and young people through such tough questions as well.
As a United Methodist follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that our words alone will not be enough in bringing about genuine healing in times such as these. What we must rely upon is the transformative love of God to be the true balm that will ultimately bring about peace in ourselves and in our society.
We, the California-Pacific Conference, can love transformatively as we embrace in prayer all those directly affected by the violence, as we stay connected with Bishop Robert Hoshibata and our sister conference, the Desert Southwest Conference, which includes Las Vegas, Nevada, as we open our church sanctuaries for spiritual centering and comfort, and as we support and participate in the work of our Cal-Pac Peace with Justice and the General Board of Church and Society to end gun violence.
The California-Pacific Conference is, unfortunately, no stranger to such incidents of mass violence. But, let us step forward in courage and faith once again so that all may experience God’s life-giving and transformative love.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church