Psalm 1 is a Wisdom Psalm, written to teach the community. It is also an Instructional Psalm that focuses on God’s Law. (LSB-Lutheran Study Bible) The Psalm can inform us of how the faithful can approach gun violence prevention (GVP).

The Psalm begins with the upbeat “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers.” God wills happiness for people and does not take kindly to those who would interfere with people living happily. Happiness “refers to those who live an enviable or desireable life.” (v. 1) Irresponsibly used weapons negate enviable and desirable lives. Could “wicked, sinners and scoffers” be those who use guns irresponsibly, primarily out of fear and self-preservation, clinging to the mantra of “rights and freedom” at the expense of endangering others?

Happy people delight in the “law of God”. (v. 2) God’s Law is instructional. There is specific purpose to life. A notion of anything, anytime and anywhere according to my wants and desires is not in God’s cards. God provides a framework, constructs parameters for living, that we can live “happy, enviable and desireable” lives. Proposed gun laws like Constitutional carry, permitless carry and stand your ground remove life enhancing frameworks and parameters and stir a gun anarchy.

We are graced to be “like trees planted by streams of water”. (v.3) Trees bear fruit and edify the community. Trees give shelter, provide fuel, coolness in the heat of the day and gather us as a community sharing space. Trees are not created to destroy. We are created to be like trees. GV is an incinerating fire, destroying life-giving goodness.

God’s Will demands common sense, responsible gun use, necessitating laws that protect life, enhance safety and enable enviable and desireable life!

Ron Letnes (D.Min.)