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For the Sake of God’s Kingdom

“Ten dead at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. 

Give to the departed eternal rest 

Let light perpetual shine upon them.”  

So reads the May 14 addition to ‘Litany in the Wake of A Mass Shooting’ on Bishops Against Gun Violence website. Just a day later, Sunday, May 15, yet another addition is needed: 

“One dead at a church in Laguna Woods, California. 

Give to the departed eternal rest 

Let light perpetual shine upon them.”

As followers of Jesus, we are heartbroken and in anguish for these latest acts of senseless and unspeakable violence. And so, we pray. We pray for the eleven dead and their loved ones, we pray for the eight wounded and their families, we pray for the witnesses and the survivors, we pray for the first responders, we pray for the officials who must deal with the aftermath, we pray for the people of Buffalo, New York and Laguna Woods, California, we pray for the perpetrator and his family, and we pray for this nation. 

As followers of Jesus, we also know that prayer—while critically needed—is not enough on its own. Not when the tally of mass shootings for 2022 is up to 198 and not when the Buffalo incident is reported to be a racially motivated act of white supremacy.  

Amid this past weekend’s disturbing news, our Sunday Gospel reading included Jesus’ new commandment of love: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. (Jn 13:34-34) 

These words call all of us to counter hate, violence, and racism with acts of love, love, and love! So how can we do that? Here are some ways: 

We recognize that yet another shooting in a place of worship in southern California heightens concerns for the safety and wellbeing for our worshippers. We encourage each congregation to prepare for emergencies and continue practicing hospitality with a spirit of welcome. We are, as always, to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. (Mt. 10:16) The San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center provides vulnerability assessments for churches, and if you are interested in more information, please contact our Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, Jeff Green, at (619) 857-9577 or jgreen@edsd.org  

None of this is easy, and none of this will have overnight results. But as Jesus’ disciples, we are called to go out and work in the vineyard! Join me, for the hour, is now! 

“Creator of all people, in our amazing diversity of size, shape, color, and giftedness: guide us, by your grace, to recognize the beauty and fitness of all whom you have made in your own image. Give us gifts of humility and generosity of spirit to recognize in all people the face of our Savior, Jesus, and to practice his commandment to “love one another” toward the end of bringing harmony and peace among persons of all colors, origins, and abilities, for the sake of your Kingdom.” Amen.

 [Source: A Year of Prayers to End Racism, The Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia]  

Category: #Advocacy, #Bishop's Blog, #Communications

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One reply to “For the Sake of God’s Kingdom

  1. George Calvert | on May 19, 2022

    Dear Bishop Susan,

    Two comments:
    (1) I have made clear and strong public statements condemning racism in response to several racist events in recent years.
    (2) I have written a letter to you explaining my opposition to both racism and the neo-marxist interpretations of it.
    Your friend in Christ,
    The Rev. George M. Calvert

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