A dear friend approached me at the door of the sanctuary on Sunday morning, tears slowly streaming down her face:
When worship started, that number was 23. In the course of an hour, as the church had gathered to worship and sing praises to God, the death toll in the Orlando nightclub shooting had more than doubled, becoming the largest mass shooting in US history. It is heartbreaking. The predictable reaction is sad. We take so little time to grieve before we start pointing fingers at who’s at fault for such evil being perpetuated in the world.
When will we say enough? We lift prayers to God on behalf on the victims, their families and for our own grief. Some might even lift prayers for our enemies like Jesus asks us to do. On the surface, we know that hatred and bigotry has no place in our faith and in this world. Our prayers need to be a starting point, not the last stop. We need to do something
To be clear, a spirit of hatred and bigotry is not limited to a particular religion. Any worldview that stakes its legitimacy on the belief that their way is the only way is dangerous. The marginalization of those not like us is an ethic that is hard to turnaround. The deeper in you get, the harder it is to get back out. The marginalization of gay and lesbian folks as well as people of various faiths needs to stop. Marginalization of anyone has no place in Christian doctrine or practice. Our addiction to violence needs to end. The solution to violence is not more violence.
Friends, if we believe that the realm of God is coming, if God believes in us enough to think that we can create the world God intends, we need to start living like it. The sin of numbness and resignation cannot have the final word.
We will want to move on in a few days, as something else dominates the news cycle, but we shouldn’t. God is counting on us. We are God’s plan. Every interaction we have with another either moves us forward or sets us back. We have more power than we think.
That’s where we need to start. Together, let’s say enough
Grace and peace