50 people killed and more than 50 wounded. This story transcends tragedy. Our minds cannot seem to rationalize or make sense of the horrific violence. It prompts outrage, shock, and despair. It's hard to find the Kingdom of God today. Do we live in a world filled with such hate?
To paraphrase the words: “If hate such as this is accepted, then love has no place in the world. It may be so; it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that.” It may be so; it may be so. I do not want it to be so. I pray that it is not so. Beautiful lives ripped from our arms in Orlando Florida.
We cannot keep silent. We cannot accept this as normal. We must not give life to the darkness of hate, marginalization, violence, political rhetoric and discrimination. We cannot be enraged for the moment, today, or the next week. We cannot sit silently until the next mass murder. We discussed the necessity of assault rifles after children were murdered at Sandy Hook and nothing changed. We argue over the senselessness of violence and lives are taken on the streets of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Washington DC and Chicago. Brothers and sisters brutalized daily, and we deliberate whether hate and discrimination exists.
Through our tears, pain, bewilderment and sadness we must envision something new. It has to begin today, and it must start with us. I believe in the goodness of humanity. We have seen it time and time again. Hopeful people whose lives express a deep and abiding love for all creation. A world where forgiveness is stronger than revenge, where empathy abounds over hate, acceptance mightier than exclusion and that the light of love and life is shining brighter than the darkness of hate and death.
We must find our voice. It must begin in our churches and we must take it to the powerful. We can make a difference. It is the only path we have in a world that has a tendency to slip into the darkness. May we all believe in the transformative power of hope, peace, goodness and love. May we bring the healing and love of Jesus Christ to this world. This is the world we envision. May it be so, may it be so. I pray for those affected by today. May the Lord hold us close.