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Angelic antidote to gun violence

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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When a gunman killed nine fellow students and a teacher in September at the College of Hospitality in Kauhajoki, Finland, and then took his own life, he sparked a national debate over gun ownership. This was the second school massacre in less than a year.

Finland has a tradition of hunting, and, out of roughly 5 million residents, there are 1.6 million guns. But a Finnish journalist cited alcohol abuse, isolation, and family breakdown – not hunting – as some of the reasons for this violence ("Finland school shooting sparks debate over gun ownership," The Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 24).

These issues and the people affected by the shootings deserve our prayers. Jesus' comment to his disciples on the night before he was to face a violent death in the form of crucifixion is helpful: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

The peace that Jesus spoke of doesn't make excuses, but it does affirm the presence of divine Life, even in the face of death. Jesus spoke of his continuity and, by extension, the continuity of all life under the care of our divine Father. Human events may seem to interrupt our contact with those we love, but the spiritual reality is that they continue to be in God's care – and so do we.

But the peace that God gives us goes further. Those who have struggled with reliance on alcohol or who have resorted to violence often engage in these acts because inside they feel hopeless, unloved, and powerless to change their circumstances. Jesus' ministry brought to people of his time – and ours – the means to transform one's life. To do tangible good and to experience God's love in practical and healing ways.

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