Yesterday being Ash Wednesday, I spent the morning in the sanctuary pressing burnt ashes onto foreheads as a reminder of our mortality. I always find it particularly poignant marking the foreheads of children. Everything in me wants to deny it, but the ritual reminds us, that even our littlest ones share in life’s vulnerability.
Walking out of the sanctuary and opening my computer that afternoon, I was met with another stark image of the frailty of our children’s lives.
I ask you to join me in prayer for the victims of yesterday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I ask you to pray for families encountering staggering grief. I ask you to pray for those still clinging to life. And, following Christ’s command to pray even for our enemies, I ask you to pray for the shooter.
I also ask you to pray for our nation and our community, that we might summon the moral courage to examine ourselves honestly enough to discover the twisted roots of this all-to-common violence. I ask you to pray that we will find the will to face hard truths and make difficult changes to solve this national crisis. There will be varied ideas about what those solutions should look like. These can be engaged in good faith.
But our faith does not permit us to simply give in to an unacceptable status quo. Our prayers alone are not enough if we do not take our part in God’s work of healing, hope, and justice.
Whenever I learn of a shooting like this, I am always reminded of Jesus’ words at the moment he was arrested in the garden. One of his companions drew a sword and struck a servant of the high priest. Jesus cried out, “no more of this!”
That is the call I hear from Christ, standing in thick of this pain, and in the presence of these latest wounds, and in the company of these beautiful souls.
No more of this. No more.