A life lived in fear is not really living, but for so many of us, this is where we find ourselves. After recent mass shootings and the senseless violence that we seem to be dealing with each day, one could certainly make an argument that we should be afraid. So, is the answer to hunker down, barricade ourselves into our homes, buy more guns, more security systems? Too many guns? Too many violent video games? More mental health funding? Stronger gun controls? What is the answer? As we seek to diagnose what is going wrong in our country, I wonder if the answer is not something more basic. I propose to you that we have ultimately failed to recognize one another as people; as living, breathing, children of God. Set apart by God for a specific purpose, made holy by the almighty for a reason. We have become so quick to label one another as “other”, that we neglect to see the human in each of us. God came and died to save humans. Us. Each one of us. Therefore, we are all God’s children. EVERYONE, including those that we would place outside of that circle. When we start labeling each other it creates a division of “us and them” and it ignores the unifying power of the almighty. It ignores what Jesus did by giving himself FOR US. Perhaps if we could practice treating one another as people first, as fellow children of God, as beloved creations of the creator, maybe, just maybe, we could stop this warring madness. Maybe we could allow ourselves to be transformed into people that are watching out for the other, caring for our neighbor, paying attention when we see the brokenness in someone. We are all broken. We are all in need of salvation. But God has placed us here not to live for ourselves, as if we were all that. But rather to serve God and one another. To love God and our neighbor as ourselves. I pray one day that we could wake up and learn that peace has broken out, that a shooting was averted because someone took the time to love and care for a desperate soul. I hope that one day we can celebrate not our independence and nationalism, but rather our interdependence on one another and the fact that all across this planet, we are human and none better than the other. May God’s kingdom come, and may the work that is needed begin with my heart and hands.