We have arranged a pulled-together vigil in support and remembrance of those who were attacked in church yesterday. We have sent an email to our congregants to gather with us this evening, to mourn and begin the healing. We are racked with sorrow. All of us.
And some of us respond so … so differently and at odds with who I like to think we are. We are a small church in an area that may house many like the gunman whose anger and illness had him see those who would help him as the cause of his unhappy life. It is likely some others have been spoon-fed hate chased by an IV of entitlement; it is likely they may show up at our church tonight.
But that makes me stand there all the more firmly, free to meet in my house of faith and mourn those I would call my own.
Why, then, do others who sit with me each Sunday wish to hire security people to watch over us as we pray? I am more anxious about this than of the possibility of another angry, hate-filled, mentally ill person finding us as we grieve. Will it make us safer? Will it make us free?
Dear God, help us find our way through this grief. Help us find OUR way, which is a way of hope in the face of danger. Let us fear what might be, but less us stand and pray, nonetheless. And let us reach out, not through barbed wire, but with tear-stained hands, ready to love even those who would (and have, and will continue to) harm us. This is the way of our mothers and fathers. Through. Together. Armed only with the sight of a distant right. Help us see that right, dear God. Help us aim toward it with love and love alone.