Remarks from a Vigil and Call to Action for the victims of the Parkland, FL school mass shooting held in Ohio by God Before Guns
The orange stoles which some of us are wearing were created for national #WearOrange day. It was an idea that came from the friends of Hadiya Pendleton, who was 15 when she was shot to death in Chicago, not at her school, because our violence will not be contained, but in a nearby park. June 2nd was her birthday, and her friends wore orange, as hunters do, to say, “See us. Don’t shoot us.”
Which is to say that this is not the first time that our children have asked us to intervene in the personal arms race which is stealing the lives of their beloved friends. Will we listen this time? Or wait for the next time?
I wear my orange stole to pray for the victims of gun violence, then, to remind me that when I pray, I have also to listen, and to act.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asks the crowd, “Who among you, if your child asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead, or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”
We act sometimes as though,
when Jesus told the thief on the cross,
Today, you will be with me in paradise,
that it made up for all the casings outside
the Paradise Club, and the holes in the walls;
the excruciating pain of metal through flesh
as the hammer falls.
As though, when Jesus said,
Let the little children come to me – but no.
Let’s not go
As though, when he saw the funeral bier,
Jesus was not gripped in his guts by the waste of life,
not assaulted by the mother’s shrill grief,
as though he were able to pass by
on the other side,
as though death had no sting.
We act sometimes as though
Jesus will rewind each death we do not want
or didn’t mean, as though
he himself were not laid out on that board
unable to move three days now since
we shot him coming out of church.
Repent! the echoes ricochet off the bible.
I will require a reckoning for your lifeblood,
says the Lord.
Repent! the echoes ricochet off the gospel,
for you cannot serve both God and guns,
and who among you, when a child begs for bread,
would hand her a bullet instead?
May the good God grant that when we pray, we remember to listen, and to act.