Moments of Silence

I wrote a sermon earlier this week on the profound glory of rest — a reminder that I admittedly need right now as I flurry to pack and prepare for a cross country adventure. I love this passage in Mark’s Gospel. I love that Jesus offers these words: Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while. It’s such poetry, isn’t it?

And then, a man in Aurora, Colorado walked into a showing of The Dark Knight and opened fire killing 12 people and injuring more than 50.

I whispered my prayers for this poor man, the deceased, the injured, the family members and the community. I wrote a quick email to my legislators expressing my dismay at these events and reminded them that gun control should always be a concern in every community. Then, I got down to packing as you know I’m moving. I wasn’t going to change my sermon. I was simply going to include a prayer for the whole community of Aurora, Colorado.

That is, until I read this beautiful article entitled Reacting Faithfully to the Colorado Shootings. Paul Raushenbush points out how our political leaders — particularly the two men running for president — used moments of silence to express what we could not express. And he’s right. A moment of silence allows for the grace of the entire community to share in a pause that alters the sense of time. Really, it does. We have so few moments of silence in our daily lives that even one minute of silence makes all of the hairs on the back of our neck stand upright. I happen to love silence but I also want our churches to offer something that our two presidential candidates won’t. And can’t.

But we can. We can do more than offer silence. We can encourage the people of God to pray for a better world, to sing for change and to dance to the beat of the love that saves us. So, I took a few days by myself in the secluded place among many boxes. I thought about it. And I changed my sermon. I didn’t rewrite it. I simply edited it. I can only hope it speaks to the faith that we believe. I hope that still small voice encourages us to realize that God is still speaking and we have something to say about it. This is my prayer.

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