After seeing the harm done by so many natural disasters around the world, especially in the Caribbean and North and Central America, it is especially painful to wake up to a human-made disaster in Las Vegas. The violence that we humans do to one another has also been in the news with unpredictable attacks of different sorts around the world; the horror of this mass shooting during a music festival here in the US is another harm to our already broken humanity.
Whether you are connected closely to someone from Las Vegas, those killed or wounded, or not, you may find yourself affected by this more than you expect. Some of us will weep, some will pray, some will act to change laws, and some of us may find ourselves to be numb or anxious or tired. Some of you will be reminded of other events like this one that caused you fear or sorrow before. Such acts strike us all in different ways and at different moments. This is a time to be gentle with yourself and others, a time to reach out to friends or family, and to join with the congregation for worship and community. This is a time to speak with a counselor or therapist, to volunteer and make other parts of our world better than they were before.
Too often, there are calls not to “politicize” these events; usually, that means that someone doesn’t want these events to be points of motivation for change. As a faith that values human worth and dignity and recognizes our interconnections, we must see these events as reminders of the need for the transformation and healing of our world, as well as the transformation and healing of our hearts. Making our faith real in the world is part of living a spiritually and religiously vital life. Moments of silence and calls for prayer are necessary – and, if we take our covenants seriously, so is our work for justice and peace.
I hope and pray that, wherever you can, you will find ways to make this world a little more whole once again:
- work in the places you can make change for a safer United States through promoting interfaith/intercultural/interracial understanding, community strengthening/dismantling hate, and improved gun policy;
- support relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, in Texas and Florida;
- and continue to bring comfort, healing, and spiritual transformation to yourselves and others.
I am in prayer again and again today, thinking of all those harmed or killed, as well as all of us who must figure out how to continue from here. If you need support, please do reach out to your minister, counselor, therapist, friends and family. We get through these things together, here and as a whole people.Faithfully,