Because what would I tell you?
I guess I can tell you that true to form, it took three days for the grief to hit. That it wasn’t until I stood with my congregation to say the Nicene Creed that I realized I was weeping, because I had to fight my way through it, because I meant all the I believes. I could tell you about the woman who had to stop in the middle of the prayers of the people because her own tears had taken over, that phrases like the congress and the courts and those in trouble, sorrow, sickness, need, or any other adversity were punctuation in themselves. We passed peace around as a prayer. I received the Eucharist in desperation, thinking of the Sacrifice in and out of time, of Pascal writing Christ will be in agony until the end of the world.
God with us.
He comes, the broken heart to bind,
the bleeding soul to cure…
It all brings into sharp focus the fact that sometimes I need that I need to stand in the words of others to make my prayers more true, to mouth words alongside while all my heart can say is yes.
So. I am offering the words of others to you today, who have written in response to the tragedy of last Friday. Some I know, some I don’t, all I think you should read in light of your questions and heartbreak. And in light of the fact that you don’t know how to respond.
- An Advent Response to Newtown, Connecticut: “And the most honest – the most faithful — utterance in your soul is, “No way.” There’s no way this can be right. There’s no way this is true. There’s no way we can keep nodding along while children die. That is the real moment of your conversion.” [Thank you, Craig Nash, for sharing this.]
- God Can’t Be Kept Out, by Rachel Held Evans; calling bullshit and breathing such hope in the same post: “If the incarnation tells us anything, it’s that God can’t be kept out.”
- The Truth About Sandy Hook: Where is God When Bad Things Happen?, by Ann Voskamp: “What if suffering isn’t a problem to solve, but a mystery to live?“
- In Which We Need Pragmatists and Prophets, by Sarah Bessey: “We need pragmatists. And we need prophets.We need policymakers. And we need poets. We need silence. And we need anger.”
- Tonight I’m Praying, by Emily Maynard: “I pray especially for the [weird] kids who are picked out because someone can link them in some cruel way to the kid who destroyed so many lives on Friday.”
- when i am a slow prophet, by Preston Yancey; weaving poetry, prayers, and wisdom: “I am thinking of mother arms. I am thinking of empty mother arms. Christ, our Lord.”
- a short, but necessary post about the way we’ve been talking about mental illness in the wake of all this: “When we talk about “the mentally ill” in a way that takes for granted the connection between illness and violence, we actually contribute to the systemic problems that prevent people from getting adequate mental health care.” [Thank you, Dianna Anderson, for sharing].
- Anger and Advent, by Kristin Tennant: “Facing tragedy in the midst of Advent highlights that conflict. I can’t express both joy and sadness at once. I don’t know how to feel both defeated and triumphant. I can’t seem to marry anger and peace. So I am left feeling numb. Nothing.”
- Immanuel, by Alise Wright: “When we who claim belief in this story say that God is beholden to our laws regarding teacher-led prayer (because let’s not kid ourselves into believing the lie that God has been completely banned from the public school), we cheapen his presence”
Christ have mercy.
If I find more posts/resources around the web that I think should be included here, I will add them.
If you have read any especially helpful posts/articles, feel free to add them in the comments below.