Dear Ones,

Last Sunday it was my great honor to be part of the interfaith prayers for healing beginning at St. Mark’s Cathedral with a march to St. James’ Cathedral.  The music, prayers, and march were all beautiful and moving.   As we marched, many asked what we were marching for?  Some stopped and joined us.   I print below my remarks from that evening and some of the most beautiful prayers put together by Canon Janet Campbell.  She tells me Deacon Stephen Crippen had a piece in them as well.  I offer them for your reflection and also invite you to consider the invitation below from Compassionate Seattle to hold three minutes of silence this coming Sunday at noon.

Bishop       Dear people of God,

in this time of tragedy and vulnerability,

let us pray with all our hearts

for healing and peace in our city.

 

Petitions

 

Bishop       Let us pray . . .

For those who have been slain this year

in the Seattle area:

for Ashton, Tirone, Darek, Michael, Gregory,

Desmond, Precious, George, Lucky, Alpha, Gregette, and Zerabruk;

for Nicole, Courtney, Justin, Son Hai, Donald, Drew, Joseph, Kimberly, Gloria;

for those whose names we do not know;

For the wounded, especially Ryan and Leonard.

And for the families and friends of all.

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

 

                                                                                      [MORE]
Bishop      
Let us pray . . .

                   For those who chose violence

whether from rage, hatred, frustration,

fear, hopelessness, or illness:

Jacob, Omar, Lovett, Michael, Timothy, Karen;

William, Troy, and Ian;

And for their families and friends.

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

 

Bishop       Let us pray . . .

For all who are

frightened,

bewildered,

despairing,

anxious,

angry,

broken-hearted;

And for all hoping for peace.

 

                             [SILENCE]

 

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

 

                                                                                      [MORE]
Bishop
       Let us pray . . .

For our city and neighborhoods

and faith communities

and for our leaders:

For calm and compassionate direction;

For a shared will for peace;

For wisdom as we seek to

uproot the causes of violence

and bind up its wounds;

For kindness and respect

among all people.

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

 

 

Bishop       Let us pray . . .

For children growing up in violent situations;

People living with violence;

Anyone thinking of resorting to violence;

All those working to change a culture of violence.

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

                                                                                      [MORE]
Bishop      
Let us pray . . .

For ourselves,

that we may help one another heal

from hurt and anger;

that we may turn to one another

in love and compassion,

rather than impatience

and misunderstanding.

that we may commit ourselves and our resources

to the work of peacemaking in our city.

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

Bishop       Let us pray . . .

For forgiveness,

for our own words and actions

of violence and cruelty;

for the harm we have done others;

for others who have harmed us;

[SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

 

                                                                                      [MORE]
Bishop    
Let us give thanks . . .

For those who responded with courage and

compassion in the chaos of the violence,

especially Leonard, Lawrence and Jo Anne;

For the ordinary moments of life

that give us joy and hope;

For the spirit of concern and compassion

welling up in our city;

For God’s presence with us and all God’s children.

                   For God’s love and mercy,

strengthening our hearts.

                             [SILENCE]

Bishop       O God, in your mercy,

Assembly      Hear our prayer.

Concluding Collect

Bishop     Holy God,

You are found in our grief and our determination

to resurrect a safer city;

You are found in our embraces and our communal prayer;

You are found alongside the victims,

wounded and slain with them,

and in the courageous ones who tried to help

and comfort them.

In your mercy,

work within us, even as we grieve,

to bring peace to our city

and safety to all who live within.

We pray this for the sake of your love.  Amen.

Reflection, St. Mark’s Cathedral

Aftermath of Seattle Shootings

June 3, 2012

 

Some things defy explanation.  As much as we try to put the pieces together, they do not fit.  As we do, we often try to make them fit, pushing a little harder here, pressing down.  It makes it easier if it makes sense.  Some things simply don’t.   There is a danger in our trying to make them have, sense.   If we can just force that piece to fit, we can move on with our lives, and live the illusion once again that all is well. 

 

When faced with the unexplainable, it is most likely best to simply see what we might learn from these days, what we might take from them, how we might move on.  Buried in such moments as the one we were plunged into this past Wednesday, is that question, how then shall we live?  Answering this, in light of the events, or even moving the cause forward a little bit, would be a lasting legacy to those whose lives were ended that day.   Surely, something can be better than the result of that day.

 

Shortly after news of this broke, I received an email from Nina Boe.  Nina is a young Episcopalian, about to be a missionary to Brazil, who was in Olso, Norway, when, less than a year ago a lone gunman and bomber killed over 80 people.   She had received this email from a friend, and since it was addressed to you, Seattle, I share it now.

 

 

Dear Seattle:

 

For a few brief hours, you saw the Holy Land for decades, Chicago streets on a weekend, Norway on summer camp, Syria on a daily basis, and Mexico in every second of a narco war.

 

This is not to diminish your pain. From across an ocean, I send energy for all who are pulling their self & city together a day after a gunman shredded a sense of security that some, but not all, were living in.

 

This is to offer the reminder that you are not alone in scars, or in a world attempting to heal. To remind you that while your specific answer must be local, you have global allies engaging echoing questions.

 

Whatever city we claim, may our species address the root causes of ALL the cycles & chaos this earth is caught in.

 

{*We in Planet Lockdown. *May All People Break Free}”- Mark Gonzales

 

Today, we are here to mourn, but also to claim our city, it is easy to take things for granted, but even beyond these events, we have work ahead of us, attention to give, to claim this city.  21 dead already this year, a fear within some of our communities that has not yet been soothed.  We have work to do, to address the root causes of All the

 

cycles and chaos this earth is caught in.  

 

Part of that is in claiming one another.  Our city is not the streets, the buildings, its place.  Our city is the people who give it life.   Some of that was taken away on Wednesday, and the truth is, it happens on other days, in ways sometimes seen and sometime not.  It is time to open our eyes.

 

We have to claim our city, by claiming each other.  We should do our part in that, and so we will walk, carrying light.  We walk our streets to claim our city for peace.   

 

We will not always agree, but for God’s sake, and I mean that, let us be bold enough, faithful enough, connected enough to keep talking, claiming this city, and one another, so that we might truly address the root causes of all the cycles and chaos this earth, and our city, are caught in.  This is the gift we can give to Nicole, Justin, Courtney, Drew, Joe, Donald, Kimberly, Gloria, to claim them, to make it our loss to, and to all those whose names we know and those we don’t, even those who perpetrated the crimes, we have to claim them too.

 

Here’s some numbers and a poignant paragraph from this morning’s Seattle Times that may be useful to you, either for Lance’s Welcome or Greg’s reflection:

 

So far in 2012, 21 homicides (one more than all of last year)

 

 

“Beyond the numbers are the lives cut short. A young woman who moved to Seattle with dreams of becoming a chef and a Navy petty officer in town celebrating a promotion. Two close friends and musicians who were well-known performers in the local vaudeville scene. A mother of two who was a lighting expert. An electrician with five children and a software engineer who coached water polo. A warehouse worker who had recently come to the northwest to escape his violent neighborhood in Florida.”

The candles will go out tonight, when they do, do not let the light go out in you, let it not go out in us, the light that has been lit by the events of these days, keep it burning, and keep walking toward a new and better day. 

This Sunday we have been asked to mobilize our community at noon in a 3 minute “stand for silence”? We are all aware of the recent outbreak of gun violence over the past several weeks and individual churches, temples and mosques have been hosting a variety of events to heal the pain and vulnerability.  St. Mark’s Cathedral hosted two such events last week, including an interfaith march from St. Mark’s to St. James’ Roman Catholic Cathedral last Sunday.

This Sunday’s initiative is designed to connect the dots among all faith communities and the general public to demonstrate our awareness of and solidarity with the victims of the violence and their loved ones throughout our region.

You can help us in the following ways:

1. Ask that the bells in your churches be rung for 15 minutes beginning at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 10th.
2. Get the word out to your members and invite them to gather their bells and ring them wherever they are at that same time.
3. Urge your members to then observe 3 minutes of silence for reflection, prayer and meditation at noon.

This initiative is being organized by Compassionate Seattle to help expand community through awareness, education and right action for the greater good. To promote education and understanding we are convening community dialogues the same afternoon, June 10th, and again on July 24th, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Seattle Center Intiman Playbox Theatre. We hope that these dialogues will attract widespread participation by people from all parts of the city and encourage a spirit of hope and collaboration to emerge for a better tomorrow.

Compassionate Seattle is the local group that is holding the legacy of the 2008 Seeds of Compassion gatherings and acting in support of and in collaboration with the City of Seattle’s proclamation for the 10 Year Campaign for a Compassionate City. We are a network of over 3,000 members and over 84 self-organizing groups, plus allied community groups, cultivating a compassionate city in the Seattle region. We welcome your inquiries and collaboration.

For more information, and to register the support of your organization, please contact me at john@cascadiancenter.org or (425) 865-0659.