June 19, 2016: Orlando Remembrance

Posted on : Jun 16th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A special service of sharing and honoring those who lost their lives in the mass murder at Pulse in Orlando.

This Sunday, we will remember those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at PULSE in Orlando as well as share our own sadness and fear. As the week has progressed the intensity of this horrific event has impacted us in so many ways. Sometimes it feels like a hate crime. Sometimes it feels like a terrorist attack. Sometimes it feels like another attack by a religious zealot (whether they be Christian or Islamic). Sometimes it feels like a national tragedy. Sometimes it feels like a personal tragedy. And when one sees the loss of so many young lives, it just feels devastating. The anguish of their parents and loved ones reminds me of the lament – the prayer of agony – told by the prophet Jeremiah. “God says, a voice is heard in Ramah crying out in agony and weeping bitterly. It is Rachel crying for her children. She refuses to be comforted because her children are no more.”

Some of us are so confused or feel so victimized we don’t even know what to pray for. And so we are reminded once again in the words of the Apostle Paul to the Church at Rome, “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. The Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.”

All of these feelings are real. We will be sharing our feelings with one another on Sunday. We will be posting our prayers on a prayer wall. And we will also commit to action steps for healing.

Our dear friend and former Minister of Faith Formation, Kobie Vermaak, sent me this piece that is being posted via social media.

Congrats, murderer.

You have turned the focus of the

LGBT community, one of the most

powerful progressive movements,

onto the crumbling edifice of one

of our country’s biggest problems,

gun reform.

I don’t know if you’ve seen what

they have accomplished

in the past 25 years,

but these queens get shit done.

~ Don Winsor

Now that’s funny and truthful and healing and powerful all in one. In fact it’s true. In the news today advocates for sensible gun control stated:

Because there is little chance that this Republican Congress will ever approve gun control legislation— the fight has “migrated away from Washington and back out to the states,” says Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Committee of New York, who has been a gun-control advocate since the 1980s.

In that way, the new blueprint of the gun control movement is the fight for gay marriage, which was also taken to the states after disappointment in Congress.  (Read the full article here.)

Each of us can do something to end homophobia, to speak against Islamophobia, to advocate for sensible gun control, to create safe space where everyone can live and be and play. We can educate, advocate, and proclaim to the world that our God is a God of love, not a God of violence or hate. You simply can’t do this kind of inhumane act in the name of anyone’s God.

As we’ve learned over and over again, the best way to heal our hurt and channel our anger is to commit to some action that will make our lives and our world better.



 ~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Jeremiah 31:15

Thus says our God:

A voice is heard in Ramah,

lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

she refuses to be comforted for her children,

because they are no more.

Romans 8: 26-28

from “The Message”

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired of waiting for the coming of God’s realm,

God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.

If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.

The Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

God knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our current condition,

and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives is worked into something good.

Romans 8: 31-39

from “The New Living Translation”

What shall we say then?

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?

Does it mean that God no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Savior.

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