SEARCHING FOR WORDS AFTER ORLANDO

IMG_6277I have been thinking about what to say in light of the 49 dead and 50+ injured in Orlando this past weekend on June 11, 2016.

What can I say?

What can anyone say?

What could we say together?

Like many people I am saddened and horrified not just by the violence but by the apparent hate that caused it.

I feel helpless. I feel culpable. I feel angry.

Do Not Ne Afraid – Believe

As I think about what happened in  Orlando, this verse gives me strength:

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”           (John 14:27)

Don’t Blame – Listen

Social media is full of outraged voices. Homophobia, religious prejudice, political pontificating, misogynist dismissal, and hate mongering preclude open dialogue that could be productive. We shout rather than listen. We blame others rather than look within. I find this discouraging as much as I find it typical of what American discourse has become. We need just laws and better outcomes – but the way to achieve them cannot be to point the finger, pound the podium and yell.

There needs to be some real conversation about guns and our glorification of them in our culture. The perpetrator did everything legally to obtain the weapons, even after being on an FBI watch list. Can we prevent mass shootings and  protect the Second Amendment? YES! We need to listen. We need to discuss. We need to implement real solutions. We need to demand change.

Don’t Be Quiet – Be Bold

Jim Rowe, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kingston, New York writes:

IMG_6276It seems only white. heterosexual, Christian men are safe in this country these days. That’s a privilege. If we white, heterosexual, Christian men do not use our privilege to make this country safe for people not like us (women, LGBTQI, people of color, non-Christians, etc.), then we are a major part of the problem.      And for us to say there is nothing we can do is a lie.”   

These words resonate deep within me. It is too easy to stay quiet. It is too easy to be part of the problem. It is too easy to believe the lie. I was wrong. There is much to do together.

I now ask myself:

“If I am not ready to risk what is safe for what is right, who will?”

I want to be the Samaritan helping the stranger on the roadside. I want to welcome, listen and learn from others. I want to celebrate that all people (LGBTQI, men, women, Muslims, Christians and other religions, immigrants, refugees, every ethnic background, those who differ politically, young, old and all others in between) are made beautiful in the likeness and image of God and are therefore of great value.

Don’t Divide – Make Peace

I want to be an instrument of God’s reign of peace in a world so preoccupied with division. I want to overcome evil with good. I want to get off a well-worn path that leads nowhere and forge a new one – with open arms, a loving heart, and a faith that believes we never walk alone.

Jill and Sy Jackson wrote a famous song titled, “Let there be peace on earth.” The second line warrants reflection, “and let it begin with me.”

If f we want to prevent this horror from striking another community; if we want to care for those who are grieving now; if we want peace – where all are welcome and all are valued; peace must first begin with us.

The prayer of St. Francis has become an integral part of my devotional life over the last several years. It speaks loudly to me each day, but particularly when tragedy strikes:

“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love;    where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen”

your.move.I invite you to pray this prayer and try to live it each day:

“Make me an instrument of your peace.” 

You are God’s instrument.

You are not an instrument of judgment, indifference or incompetence.

You are an instrument of peace.

PGS

 

 

Advertisements

About geoff sinibaldo

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Son, Friend, Change Proponent, Goofball, Seeking Faithfulness in the 21st Century
This entry was posted in Church & Mission, Church by Perception, Discovery, Faith Everyday, Praying, Thoughts on Prayer, What We Seek and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to SEARCHING FOR WORDS AFTER ORLANDO

  1. Kim Meadows says:

    thank you – Kim

      

  2. Tim says:

    Well said, Geoff. May we all be filled with the Holy Spirit to be instruments of love and peace.

  3. Max Corder says:

    I am responding to your post as someone who did everything, and the only thing, I could do to protect my fellow citizens, no matter their color, sex, orientation or religion. I volunteered for military service and went to war for two years. Though I was white, male, heterosexual and Christian, I did not realize at the time that I was “privileged”. Virtually 100% of my fellow soldiers, sailor, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen were like me, and came from lower and middle class backgrounds. I met no Yale, Princeton, Harvard lawyers in battle. Just my compatriots and the enemy. I was one of the fortunate ones, I returned home with my mind and body intact. Others did not.

    You do realize that the person with the most power, and the duty, under the Constitution to protect us is the President. You might also assume the FBI under the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security would also have high responsibility. The holders of these offices do not meet Pastor Rowe’s definition of someone with privilege (white, heterosexual, Christian, male). These three persons are Black. One of them is female.

    The American people elected Barack Obama as President, obviously knowing that he was Black, and would likely appoint some Blacks, and maybe females, gays and perhaps Muslims, to positions of power and responsibility. He promised an inclusive administration that would “look like America”. In fact he declared “we are the ones you have been waiting for”. Apparently, the American people did not believe that only white, male, heterosexual Christians can protect them.

    I am sorry to say that myopic admonition that we white, male, heterosexual Christians are responsible for protecting everyone who doesn’t look like us doesn’t hold water when held up to the light of reality. We are becoming one of the most hated minority groups in the country, and we are blamed for most of society’s current ills. But, we will continue to fulfill our obligation to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

    We are, though, always called upon and expected to report for duty in America’s military. At one time the military was a great place to serve, but now it’s been turned into a vast PC experiment. Without the warrior mindset, we are in deep trouble.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s