March 14, 2018
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
One month ago today, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed seventeen people. What we have witnessed in these past weeks as students committed themselves to action has been extraordinary.
Many of us thought that the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 would have been a turning point in the gun debate in this country. Yet, it wasn’t. And our young people, those who were in elementary school when Sandy Hook happened, have witnessed our national inability to solve the problem of gun violence. Now they are saying that it is their turn. I think we need to listen to them. I pray that they have the fortitude for the work that lies ahead, and I plan to do what I can to support them in their efforts.
I was privileged to be invited to offer an invocation at a rally on the Hoboken City Hall steps today as students from the Hudson School, Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and other community members observed #NationalWalkoutDay to remember the students of Parkland and to make clear that we have had enough.
God of many names:
You love all that you have made
and desire nothing more than that all of humankind
might live in peace and harmony.
And yet, one month ago today,
seventeen people lost their lives
at the end of an assault-style weapon
in an appalling act of violence and hate.
We grieve for the lives lost and pray for continued healing
for those who were injured and those who mourn.
At the same time, we give thanks for those brave students
who have turned their grief into action
issuing a call to conscience for our entire nation.
We pray for the courage and the resolve to respond
as they have responded, with a vow to persevere
until we are all safe in our schools, our places of worship,
our streets and our homes.
Strengthen us when we are discouraged;
give us the words when language fails us;
may we do this work with fierce love and determination
doing our part to restore your creation to relationship with you
and with one another.
In the name of all that is holy, we pray. Amen.