Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey expresses deep sadness and a challenge to action over violence in Orlando.
Dear Michigan United Methodists,
As I write to you today, my heart is breaking.
On this sad day I ask you to join me in prayer for the victims of the Orlando shooting, for the family and friends that are grieving, and for those who have been wounded and are fighting for their lives at this very moment.
My heart breaks.
… My heart breaks as I think of anguished parents mourning the loss of a son or daughter, and of all the possibility and promise that has been taken from the world.
… My heart breaks for LGBTQI, Latina/o, and Muslim communities. Members of these communities- especially members who live at the intersection of these communities- face prejudice, discrimination, and the threat of violence on a daily basis.
… My heart breaks for a world where mass shootings have become a common occurrence.
When will it stop?
I truly believe it will only stop when people of conscience, guided by love, stand up and make it stop.
So, I ask you to not only join me prayer, but also join me in actions that make our world safer for our young people.
- If you have the opportunity to pray or preach this coming Sunday, I encourage you speak about this tragedy. Comfort those who are deeply affected, and challenge your congregation to reflect on how we perpetuate hate and violence.
- Vigils are being organized in many communities. I encourage you to attend, especially if it means stepping out of your comfort zone because the vigil is organized by the LGBTQI, Latina/o, or Muslim community. If you are organizing a vigil, please include leaders of these communities.
- I believe that the only use for assault weapons is to kill people. I support our United Methodist Resolution, Gun Violence, that calls for a ban on assault weapons. I encourage you, as your conscience allows, to contact your elected officials and advocate for such a ban.
In difficult and uncertain times, I turn to these worlds from scripture. They give me strength and remind me that God’s love is always with us. I share them now in hope they bring a small measure of comfort:
For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us. … So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:13-14, 17.
May the peace of Christ find its way into our hearts – and into our world.