“Las Vegas. There are no words. Just prayers, lament…and the witness of love and life in Jesus Christ. Lord have mercy,” tweeted ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton the morning of Oct. 2, when the world learned of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas.

As we reflect on how to respond, the ELCA has a range of resources available:

In 2013, the ELCA Conference of Bishops released a pastoral letter on violence; that message is still relevant today. Read part of the letter below.

“We recognize that we serve in different contexts and have different perspectives regarding what can and should be done. But as we live out our common vocations, knowing that the work will take many forms, we are committed to the work of reducing and restraining violence. This shared work is a sign of our unity in Christ.

We invite you, our sisters and brothers, to join us in this work:

• The work of lament—creating safe space for naming, praying, grieving, caring for one another, and sharing the hope in God’s promise of faithfulness

• The work of moral formation and discernment—listening to scripture, repenting, modeling conflict resolution in daily life, addressing bullying, conducting respectful conversations, and discerning constructive strategies to reduce violence

• The work of advocacy—acting to address the causes and effects of violence

Knowing that we are not saved by this work, we undertake it trusting in Christ Jesus, who laid down his life for the world and who calls us to be peacemakers, to pursue justice, and to protect the vulnerable. In this, as in all things, Christ is with us. Thanks be to God.”

John Potter
John G. Potter is content editor of Living Lutheran. He lives in St. Paul, Minn.

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