Everything on the Table: A Script for the Transformation of Gun Violence
This script was used a part of a closing devotional to end a three week ecumenical study about violence in general and gun violence in particular during Lent 2016. (NOTES: 1) The scripture reference below is Micah 4:1-4; 2) For this study we used a resource created by the United Methodist Church, titled “Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities,” which accounts for some of the language you will see below. For this resource, click here.)
The text below can be adapted for use in small groups, at a vigil, for a Sunday morning worship service, etc.
It may strengthen its impact to set up an actual table and to place appropriate symbols on the table throughout the reading (e.g. Bible, law book, map, a whole person…)
Readers: 4 Total – 1 narrator and 3 other readers.
Narrator: It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, what convictions you hold or who you voted for in the last election. All of us are affected by violence in general and gun violence in particular. There is need for transformation. There is need for new pieces arranged in new patterns. There is need for us to put everything on the table if Kingdom dreams are ever to become Kingdom realities.
A: I believe with all of my heart that gun violence is a spiritual issue.
B: I know that the only way to make any real difference is to tighten up the laws.
C: I feel that the issue of gun violence is too controversial to talk about.
A: We need deeper relationships.
B: We need prophetic voices.
C: We need action. NOW!
A: We need to stop denying, minimizing and oversimplifying the gun violence in our culture.
B: We need to stop demonizing those with whom we don’t agree.
C: We need to speak the truth in love.
Narrator: God, because we are not content with gun violence, we put all of these ideas, feelings and expressed needs on the table, and ask you to transform them, and us.
A: I’m going to be an activist on the front lines.
B: I’m going to focus on firearms education.
C: I’m going to lead a study about violence.
A: I’m going to work on myself, knowing that personal holiness is essential for social holiness.
B: I’m going to work on my community, knowing that social holiness is essential for personal holiness.
C: I’m going to learn more about the connection between drug addiction and gun violence.
A: I’m going to advocate for the treatment of those with addictions.
B: I’m going to learn more about the connection between mental illness and gun violence.
C: I’m going to advocate for the mental health of others.
Narrator: God, because we are not content with gun violence, we put all of these intentions on the table, and ask you to transform them, and us.
A: But in the days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of the mountains; it will be lifted above the hills; peoples will stream to it.
B: Many nations will go and say: “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God, so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God’s paths!” Instruction will come from Zion and the LORD’s word from Jerusalem.
C: God will judge between the nations and settle disputes of mighty nations, which are far away. They will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war.
A: All will sit underneath their own grapevines, under their own fig trees. There will be no one to terrify them; for the mouth of the LORD of heavenly forces has spoken.
Narrator: God, because we are not content with gun violence, we put the vision of your Word from Micah 4 on the table, trusting that it has the power to transform.
A: God, I put my doubts and fears on the table.
B: God, I put my convictions, opinions, politics, and faith on the table.
C: God, I put my whole self on the table.
Narrator: God, we are not content with gun violence. We are not OK with our world which has not lived into your vision. We are not content with the fact that what we have done and left undone has not worked. We mourn the fact that the patterns we follow, including the patterns we follow with guns, too often lead to death and to ways that are not your ways. We recognize that split screens and partisan talking points will never turn our swords into plowshares. And we acknowledge that your Kingdom dreams are incompatible with our violent realities. And so, seeking transformation, and seeking you, we place everything on the table, asking to become more and more your partners. Partners who work for new pieces, and new patterns, and a new Kingdom where your mountain is the highest, and violence is a word we no longer know. AMEN.
© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2016