Remembering Lives Lost to Gun Violence

memorial-to-the-lost-2016On Sunday morning our congregation again erected a Memorial to the Lost on our church lawn reminding us to stop, remember, pray, educate, organize, and advocate on behalf of the 202 people killed by gun violence in greater Washington DC in 2015. This is the third year we have erected the Memorial created by Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence and rotated to the lawns of different churches and faith communities in the DC area.

The Memorial includes 202 tee-shirts with each victim’s name, age, and date of death. It becomes a holy labor of love as we work together to pound in stakes, erect frames, and place the tee-shirts on them. When our work is completed we dedicate the memorial with this scripture taken from the book of Habakkuk 1: 2-4a:

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails.

Then we read this litany of commitment for the Memorial before processing silently into our church to begin our worship service:

Faced with gun violence,
We grieve for those who have been killed
and those whose lives are forever changed;
We seek comfort for those who have lost loved ones;
We pray for healing in the hearts
of those who have been left to mourn.
Faced with gun violence,
We seek healing for the perpetrators,
so they no longer inflict pain upon others.
We pray for healing of the violence in our culture.
Faced with gun violence,
We pray for those in positions of power
that they may use their power for peace.
Faced with gun violence, may we
Educate; Organize; Advocate;
and in all the ways we can, work for the day when
guns and weapons of destruction
are transformed into instruments of healing.
May it be so. May we do so.

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