HOW LONG frequently begins Old Testament verses. The tone cries out for an answer from God or individuals. Response is tearfully and angrily demanded. Mercy is the prize! Relief the succor. Here’s a sampling::

How long shall this fellow be a snare to us? Exodus
How long shall this people despise us? Numbers
How long will you be slack about going in? Joshua
How long will you be gone? Nehemiah
How long will you say these things? Job
How long will you hunt for words? Job
How long will you torment me? Job
How long will you love vain words? Psalms
How long will you forget me forever? Psalms
How long must I bear pain in my soul? Psalms
How long must I be angry? Psalms
How long shall your evil schemes lodge within you? Jeremiah
How long shall you withold mercy? Zechariah

I learned from Professor James Burtness and Dietrich Bonhoeffer that Word and world go together. The Word transforms and informs the world. The Word exists for the sake of the World.

Gun violence is the world.  The HOW LONG questions can be related to the gun violence in the world. Each question focuses a victim, a killer or a person in power. Each question demands an answer, a solution, a comfort, a transformative action to breathe life into our United States’ orgy of gun violence.

How long until universal background checks that include licensed dealers, private sellers and internet sales be the law of the land?

How long until a Red Flag Law (Extreme Risk Protective Order) becomes the law of the land?

How long until semi-automatic weapons of war are banned from sale?

How long until large capacity magazines are banned?

How long until ALL manufactured weapons are registered and licensed?

How long until unscrupulous gun sellers are fined or put out of business?

How long until gun safety training is required for all gun owners?

How long until gun safes and separation of guns and ammunition are required safety actions?

HOW LONG? By the grace of God it is WE who are spurred to scream and demand NOW!

Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)