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Fr. Jim’s response to recent mass shootings…

August 30

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

SOMETHING I NEED TO SAY…

Throughout history, people of faith and people of moral courage, have stood up when events dictated that they needed to do so—events so horrific that doing nothing was not an option.  People have stood up because it was the right thing to do and the events before them called for their voice to be heard and some action taken.  Now is one of those times.

This past weekend we all observed another horrifying example of hate-fueled violence in our country with two more mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  These shootings have added to the growing number of mass shootings over the last few years that have left us numb and wondering will it ever stop.  In fact in this year alone, we have had more mass shootings than days in the year—255 to be exact where four or more people have been killed excluding the shooter. No one has been immune from the deadly killing sprees—not even our precious children.  Yet we do nothing but pray and grieve.

As a priest I believe very strongly in the healing power of prayer.  If not, I would start to doubt God’s grace that occurs so often in the midst of any horrible event.  I would also start to question my faith in a merciful God.  But that is not the case, because I believe God does hear our prayers and is constantly working to make all things right—just as God has done throughout all of history.  The truth of this has been revealed in all of scripture from Genesis through Revelation.

But God did not do it alone!  God’s Spirit and the wisdom of Jesus worked with, and through people, to right what was wrong, to bring justice where there was none, and to confront the darkness of evil when it reared its ugly head.  And today, the same is being required of all of us—God’s children and people of faith, to stand up, and with the help of God, to try and do something to face the challenges and tragedies of gun violence.

Therefore I ask every person in this faith community to put aside politics and any differences that may separate us as one Body of Christ and attempt with God’s help to find solutions regarding this difficult and complex problem of “what to do” with the preponderance of gun violence and hatred that is permeating our society and way of life in our country.  The road toward answers and change will be fraught with struggles and frustrations but the very peace and harmony of all people in this country is at stake.  It is not a time to be silent.  It is not a time to do nothing.  It is a time to confront the evil we see and the darkness that attempts to take away the light of God’s love in our world.

I wish I had solutions or answers to the problems of gun violence and the hate and insanity behind it, but I don’t.  I’m not sure anyone does.  I only know that we must do something—and maybe something starts with daily prayer and then getting up off our knees and getting involved in some way to help change the climate.  Contacting the members of Congress and our state legislatures who have the power and responsibility to protect us could be a good place to start.  Whatever manner of action you feel led to after that, may God guide you in that endeavor and may God give you the courage to do what is necessary to help bring about a more peaceful way of life and the realization and fullness of God’s kingdom on earth.

The following prayers may be useful for you to use in your daily meditation time or prayer time.  They were created by St. Thomas’ Parish, Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, as a prayerful response to the tragic acts of gun violence:

Giver of Life and Love, you created all people as one family and called us to live together in harmony and peace.  Surround us with your love as we once again face the challenges and tragedies of gun violence.  For our dear ones, for our neighbors, for strangers, and those known to you alone,

God of Righteousness, you have given our leaders, especially Donald, our President, the members of Congress, the judges of our courts and members of our legislatures, power and responsibility to protect us.  For all who bear such responsibility, for all who struggle to discern what is right in the face of powerful political forces,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Compassion, we give you thanks for first responders, for police officers, firefighters and EMTs, and all those whose duties bring them to the streets, the malls, the schools, the churches, and the homes where the carnage of gun violence takes place day after day.  For our sisters and brothers who risk their lives and their serenity as they rush to our aid,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

Merciful God, bind up the wounds of all who suffer from gun violence, those maimed and disfigured, those left alone and grieving, and those who struggle to get through one more day.  Bless them with your presence and help them find hope.  For all whose lives are forever marked by the scourge of gun violence,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Resurrection, may we not forget those who have died in the gun violence that we have allowed to become routine.  Receive them into your heart and comfort us with your promise of eternal love and care.  For all who have died at the shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, those others who have died in other gun violence and mass shootings, those who die today, and those who will die tomorrow,

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace.

God of Justice, help us, your church, find our voice.  Empower us to change this broken world and to protest the needless deaths caused by gun violence.  Give us power to rise above our fear that nothing can be done and grant us the conviction to advocate for change.  For your dream of love and harmony.

Loving God, Make us instruments of your peace

In God’s love and peace,

Jim+

Details

Date:
August 30
Event Categories:
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Venue

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
508 Riviera Street
Venice, FL 34285 United States
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Phone:
941-488-7714
Website:
https://stmarksvenice.com