On Monday morning, I sat on the couch of our living room, while our oldest son was on my lap as I helped him with an early-morning bloody nose. He was a bit nervous, appreciating his dad’s embrace—and I think, reveling in the fact that he got to watch an episode of Peppa Pig until the nosebleed ended. It did. He gave me back my phone and up popped a notification about a shooting in Las Vegas. “Over 50 Dead”—it read. By now, the number has increased and will continue. By the time you read this, we will have heard the long known ritual of shock, numbness, anger, feeling of powerlessness and deep sorrow. There is plenty to mourn from Las Vegas. There is much that takes us by the heart and fills us with gratitude for those who serve and protect, those who rush towards what at any other time instills pure fear. But for me, perhaps like many of you, I am left with a deep feeling of nothingness. It is what I believe is the power of death and sin. It is a moral travesty that such mass killings occur with such regularity in our society. It is a moral travesty that little has changed in our society since Newton, CT. None of us can deny that this is a social and political ill beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend. What is often not mentioned is how this is a spiritual and moral crisis. For some of us, the horror of mass shooting and terrorism leads us to a place of deep fear, isolation, and spiritual death. For others, such things lead us to deep feelings of anger, scapegoating, and ravenous calls for someone to be held accountable, when often, the perpetrator (usually a white, male) has already taken their own life. The spiritual crisis, beyond the obvious terror of such violence and death, is that we find ourselves believing that nothing can be done and that we will simply brace ourselves for the next time. This Sunday, we will engage, through prayer and spoken word, the shooting of Las Vegas. We will have time to talk with one another and share our emotions during the Adult Forum, at 9am, where I will host a time of listening and reflection. Whatever you might be feeling this week about the violence we have seen and experienced, know that we, here at St. Tim’s, are together in Christ. Our common emotions of shock, pain, loss, anger, confusion, are held together by God’s love. And friends, we are not alone in this life; rather, our very lives are held by the loving embrace of God. Our God, who calls us to pray and calls us to use our bodies to enact such prayers.
Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Rob O’Neill offers us some words of reflection on the shooting in Las Vegas here. I encourage you to take a moment and read his pastoral letter.