We wake again to grief today. Overnight, people died in Dayton, Ohio, at the hands of a madman with a gun. Yesterday afternoon, the town of El Paso, Texas was decimated by an evil person with a gun, shouting racist epithets. I am grieved. I know you are too. Whatever shall we do? I turn to God’s word for encouragement and direction, and then I realize that I must begin with lament. My heart is broken, and so, like the Psalmist before me I cry out.
Awake! Why are you asleep, O Lord?
Arise! Cast us not off forever!
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth. (Psalm 44:24-26)
These innocents around us – who are shot and killed for no reason at all. How can we imagine a profitable, nurturing world as long as these innocents continue to die? And how can we end the proliferation of angry, armed white men? I do not know, and I do not see an end in sight.
A pastor I admire, Pastor Mark Knutson, in Portland, has moved forward with plans to end the gun violence directly through intervention in removing weapons of killing from our society. Tuesday, his church, Augustana will hold a Vigil for Prayer and Action from 6:00-7:30 pm with faith leaders encouraged to gather ahead of time in the fireside room from 5:00-5:45. The offering will go to the Lift Every Voice Oregon Campaign to ban the sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines in Oregon. I am glad to pass along his invitation. And I ask, what else? If we are visited by angry white men with guns, perhaps we must address both the guns and the angry white men. The rhetoric in our world today has lost its civility, and this racism and anger has found new energy in our land.
And so I lament. I grieve. And I pray. Christ be in me, Christ be in our world. Christ show me how to end these days of hatred and racism. Let Your Love be enough for us all.
I have no answers today, friends, I only grieve with you. Let us grieve together. Amen. – Pastor Patricia+