I am sure that the recent violence in Orlando Florida has been on your minds as it has been on mine. I feel like a relative latecomer on this, and feel like I should have sent out something sooner. And I'm also not sure what to add, as most everything has already been said. For the most part, it has been roundly condemned by nearly all corners. It's a tragedy, a travesty, and an act of terror committed against a group of vulnerable people who often live their lives in fear under burdens of hate and discrimination. Sometimes as the direct or indirect result of the words and actions of professing Christians.
I don't know about you, but I have a real sense of powerlessness. What should I do? What can I do? As people of faith we often start off with prayer, which is a faithful thing to do. But I recall seeing a friend's Facebook post that read "thoughts and prayers are fine and good, but doing something about it is better." The post had a point. Often we pray, and that's where things end. Nonetheless, I am convinced more by the hymn that says "worship and work are one." When we pray, we must also remember the way Jesus taught us to pray: "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." When we pray, we pray for justice and solace for victims, but we also pray that we may be instruments of God's will as practitioners of divine love, mercy, and justice. We pray for God to change the world, but we also pray for God to shape us, and to make us part of that change.
So we pray, O Lord,
for your comfort for the grieving,
your courage for the fearful,
and your justice for the victims,
beginning first with us.
In Christ's name.
Yours in the deep peace of the Risen Lord,
Rev. Ryan Slifka
Very Rev. Jordan Cantwell, Moderator of the United Church, Speaks about the Orlando Shooting
"Fearing Our Fears," an Opinion Piece by William H. Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at the Divinity School, Duke University