We were heart-stricken but honoured to host at Epiphany a Vigil for the most recent victims of mass murder and gun violence, in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, organized by God Before Guns. The Rector’s welcome follows the video of Noah Budin singing us into a circle at the close.
I invite you to pray with us.
Good evening. My name is Rosalind Hughes, and as the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany it is my privilege to welcome God Before Guns, our friends, our neighbours, clergy colleagues, and our Mayor to the Episcopal Church in Euclid.
You are welcome here.
You are welcome here whether you are grieving or angry, traumatized, energized or worn dry crying. You are welcome whether you come seeking God’s comfort or whether you just want, for God’s sake, to do something about the gun violence in this nation.
You are welcome here, regardless of age, gender, relationship status, religion, race, or history.
You are welcome here, whether you have ever owned a gun, or whether the very thought makes you shiver. To be clear: no guns are welcome in this sacred space. But you are.
You are welcome here, regardless of how you vote, whether you have given up, or have yet to vote; although you will hear a word this evening about using your power as We the People to do something about gun violence.
You are welcome whether you were born here, whether your ancestors were brought here by force, or came of their own free will. If your family tended this land before America was born, standing on the inheritance of the Erie people, we are grateful to you. If you only just got here, we welcome you.
You are welcome here whether you call on the name of Jesus, or whether you know God through some other name, or whether you are not sure if you know God at all, but God knows, you want to do something about all this gun violence.
You are welcome here whether you are on fire, or whether you feel burned out.
You are welcome in the name of the One who created us each in Their own image, in the name of the One who calls us back from the brink of the abyss time and again, in the name of the One who catches our breath so that we can contemplate the climb out the valley of the shadow of death, the one to whom we pray:
O God, whose Name is Love and whose Word is Welcome,
we ask your consolation on those who mourn this night
your inspiration for those who act on your command
to love your children, to care for your creation, to heal this nation;
may your will win out here as in heaven.
Deliver us from the evil of gun violence,
and from all evil ideas and ideologies that inspire it.
Let your Spirit of life and truth be our only firepower.
Let your Love be our only temptation.
Let your Presence be our protection and our provocation as we remember
your people murdered and maimed most recently in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton.
May they rest in peace, and may we rise up in your Name. Amen.