I can’t shake the image of those green Converse high tops. The actor, Matthew McConaughey, told us, speaking in the White House press room, that Maite Rodriguez wore green Converse high tops with a heart drawn on one toe to school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022. He went on to say that it was these shoes that helped to identify her body, so destroyed had it been by the damage that an AR-15 does to a body, especially to the body of a nine year old girl. And I can’t shake the image, not so much of the shoes, but of the little girl who wore them and the terror that she and the other little children in that school must have felt that day when the shooting started. What did they see? What did they hear? What did they feel?

Of course, part of the reason why Matthew McConaughey was at the White House speaking was because he was born in Uvalde, and he was urging the Congress to do something to try to prevent these sorts of mass murders from happening in our country, including passing gun safety legislation. I realize that there is a lot of debate in our country about such legislation. Personally, I have my own views about the reforms that I would support. However, as a Pastor, I don’t see my role as taking a position in these debates. While we Presbyterians believe that Christ calls us to join him in his work of transforming the world for the better, we believe that each of us is called to that work in our own circles of influence and responsibility. Each of us must discern for ourselves what Christ is calling us to do.

And yet, as a Pastor, it seems to be my role to draw your attention to those green Converse high tops, and to the little girl who was brutally murdered wearing them, along with the others who have been murdered, and the countless others who have been traumatized by the violence. With these precious ones in mind, what is it that you think that Christ is calling us to do to try to make things better? For it seems to be clear that something needs to change. And as a Pastor, it is my role, I think, as the debates continue, to remind us that these precious ones need to be our main focus, our highest priority.

Pastor Don Steele

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