Yesterday, the ELCA held a Service of Prayer and Lament at the churchwide office in Chicago. These are the things they prayed and are praying for:
“Praying and lamenting the ongoing violence in our world and across our country…Praying and lamenting the loss of lives due to gun violence and racism…Praying and lamenting for the needs of the whole human family.” If you would like to watch the service, you may do so here.
All of us, it seems, are drawn together now in lamentation and grief.
Below is the sermon I preached the week after the shootings in Orlando. That morning we were baptizing two young children, and I asked the congregation to participate in the great three renunciations of evil, at the beginning of the baptismal confession. If ever there was a week, I said then, to renounce evil, to claim our baptismal identity, to remember who we are and the Lord we follow, that was a week to do it. I feel the same this week. And I’m clinging to the cross, as I’m sure all of you are, too, as an anchor, and a life-line, a scrap of wood in a stormy sea, a raft across death to life.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear the parable of the Good Samaritan: this is the week, if ever there was a week, to ask who is my neighbor, especially when I am called to love him or her as myself. May God help us love our neighbors in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, and down the street. May God have mercy on our failures to love as we are loved. May God help us make a path of justice and peace through this wilderness of sorrow.