The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison.

I woke up this morning and lamented that I couldn't go to Zumba class because of my still-injured toe. As my mom put it, it's too "jumpy aroundy" of an activity. Hiliarious. I called my mom to wish her happy birthday, and then hung out in my bed checking all my social networks for a preeetty long time. Around 10:30am MT, people started to tweet that a shooting had been reported at a school in Connecticut. I shook my head and sighed.

Suddenly, the tweets were not just the routine "breaking news: shots fired in Newtown, CT" but rather "hundreds of children evacuated from CT elementary school" or "entire classroom still unaccounted for" or "three rushed to hospital" and as I looked back and forth between MSNBC and Twitter, the reports careened off the edge into "one dead" then "three dead" then "six dead" then "a child is dead" then "20 shot" until finally "27 dead, 18 of which are children."

I was numb.

As each new wave of information came through, tears fell anew. It just kept getting worse.

I had some errands to run, so I pulled myself out of bed to shower and get out of the house for a little while. I'm sure I was imagining it, but everyone I saw in their car or in a store seemed sad. I definitely did not imagine watching a woman wipe her eyes while we were at a red light. She could have been crying about literally anything else in the universe. But it just seemed like there was nobody unaffected.

When I got home, I was just in time to see my President weep on national television, too. That's where we're at right now, you guys. President Obama could not even speak for four minutes about this without tears, and without stumbling over his words. This is real life.

He quoted Psalm 147 in his remarks -- God heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. It would seem, that, today, God's the only one who can.

And so, for now, my prayers are with the families of those 18 kindergarteners who should not have lost their lives today in the relative safely of their own classroom. My prayers are with the families of the staff and faculty who were killed in attempts to stop the shooter, or who found themselves in the line of fire for any other reason. My prayers are with the family and friends of the shooter, a sad young man who I wish I could hug as much as I wish I could hug all those children. My prayers are with the community of Sandy Hook and the city of Newtown, and the state of Connecticut as they hold tightly to each other and try to piece together this unspeakable violation of their way of life.

My prayers are with everyone in every city that has been affected by gun violence, especially my current residence of Littleton, CO. Since the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, there have been 31 mass shootings in the United States. And every day, people die gun-related deaths in cities all over this country.

This is where I must address that the prayers of this nation will not be enough. Nothing can ever right these wrongs, or bring anyone back to life. But what we can do is prevent, to the best of our ability, future sprees of mass murder in our communities. And this is not about one thing. There was not one cause of this or any of the mass shootings we've endured these last 13 years.

What we're able to do is limit access to weapons, expand access to mental healthcare, and remind each other at every available opportunity that our lives and the lives of all others are so, so valuable.

I hope you've been tweeting and facebooking and talking to your family and enacting any other means of catharsis you can -- I mean that in earnest. It's exactly what I've been doing. But don't stop there. Write your representatives -- including your President -- and let them know how you feel about gun violence in this country, and about mental healthcare in this country, and how your love of your neighbor leads you to those feelings.

An actively participatory citizenry is the only way that tragic gun violence we experience in this nation ever stops. Demand that your government make a change. What we're doing right now clearly is not working.

We do not have the power to stop legal gun owners from going on murderous rampages. We don't. But we do have the power to limit what guns Americans can legally own, and who can legally own those guns. Obviously, I'm for banning every gun there is outright, and there's not one of you who doesn't know that. But wherever you sit on the gun regulation spectrum, there's no way you believe that what happened today is just the price we pay for our "freedoms."

I say all of these things because I love you with all of my heart.

It is well with my soul.

The JBap Conspiracy -- Luke 3:1-6