I didn’t watch the news this morning.
Sunday mornings are busy for me. I usually wake up pretty early and avoid turning on Facebook or checking e-mail so I can focus on having some time to edit my sermon before church. To tell you the truth, it is one of the favorite times of my week as I sit in the quiet, drink coffee, and write. Every week I think, “wow, I love this – I should do this every morning.” However, I love sleep, too, and most mornings I will choose sleep over getting up to write.
So I did not know that while I was sleeping, an armed gunman went into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed fifty people and injured 53 more. While I was sleeping, the greatest act of terrorism in our country since 9/11 happened.
And because I didn’t turn on the news, I led worship, preached a sermon, and prayed prayers with my church community this morning without even a mention of the terror and death that happened in Orlando just hours before.
I feel sick about that. I had been so busy crafting my sermon that reflected on other things that happened earlier in the week in the news and applying scripture as we think about those things – it was a fine sermon – and one that I was glad to preach, until I glanced at my Facebook feed after church.
I know my congregation can forgive me for not being up to speed on the news. I’m sure of that.
But I just can’t get my head around what is happening. There is so much violence. I went for a walk today with my ten year-old son and I tried to explain to him what happened in Orlando. We talked about guns and he said, “Mom, why do they even sell assault rifles to people? No one needs those except the military.” He understands. Why the heck doesn’t our government understand that?
No one even asks the question anymore of how many people have to die before the gun laws get stricter. Have we given up hope for peace? Have we given up hope on being a nation of strong ideals and being a leader among nations? Apparently so if nearly half our nation thinks the racist, misogynistic, hateful, mean-spirited man-child Donald Trump should get anywhere near the White House. Have you seen the movie, “Idiocracy”? It’s all coming true.
This attack on a gay nightclub sends such a distinct message of hate – and I’m afraid it is a hate that is being fed and nurtured from too many sources.
It’s fed every time Donald Trump’s vicious, caustic, ignorant blathering gets spouted on the news.
It’s fed when a prayer for the victims of the shooting in Orlando is posted on a Facebook wall and someone feels the need to reply with a comment about how we really should be praying for all the aborted babies instead. Okay friend, sure, yes, by all means, pray for the babies, too, but can’t you for one stinking minute show some compassion for the gay and lesbian community after the most horrific mass murder on American soil since 9/11 targeted them?!
It’s fed when the knee-jerk reaction is to blame all the Muslims for all the things. You cannot put all Muslims into one category just as you surely cannot put all Christians into one category. The hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church calls themselves Christian but I can safely say I would rather pluck my eyeballs right out of my head than say “Hey, I’m with them.”
The hate is growing too fast. And I’m heartbroken for the gay community to be targeted like this when they have already suffered so much and struggled SO hard to get the rights and privileges they are only just starting to get.
I’m sad that I didn’t turn on the news this morning because I needed to pray about this with my church today. I needed to lift up my sadness about this horrid violence along with my faith community. I wanted to acknowledge the horror of this along with them.
There’s always next week, right? By then, who knows what terror-soaked headlines I’ll have to add into the mix. Lord, have mercy.
Dear God, bring Your peace.
It feels like violence is breaking down every door.
We’re running out of hope.
In these times that seem to be getting more troubled by the hour,
Comfort, comfort your people.
For the families of 50 people who just wanted to go out dancing with their friends on a Saturday night,
We say, “Why? Why? Why?”