After the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year, there were calls for new monuments, people asking, “What monuments would do better at telling the story of who we are as a nation, instead of the monuments to white supremacists and the civil war?”
In honor of Black History Month, we’re making monuments to African American heroes and sheroes. Today’s monument is of Trayvon Martin.
I have to admit that I woke up on Thursday this week thinking of Trayvon Martin—after 17 people were killed in Parkland, Florida. I was thinking about Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsay, 17, Alex Schachter, 14, Carmen Schentrup, 16, Peter Wang, 15, adults Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, and Chris Hixon.
I know most of you know Trayvon’s name, and you know that he was 17 years old on February 26, 2012 when he was killed by George Zimmerman, a man who ran after him, confronting him, and ultimately killing him.
Maybe you don’t make the connection, but I do. A child. Killed by a gun. Wait. A child, killed by a gun wielded by a man.
I don’t know what to do about it. And while thoughts and prayers aren’t enough, I’m going to pray right now, and I hope you will join me. This is the same prayer we prayed after the Pulse shooting, the same prayer we prayed after the Sutherland shooting.
How long, O Lord?
Merciful Lord, we come to you heavy hearted, for we have heard the cries of the slain calling to us from the ground. We come remembering all the lives lost to the weapons of war that have flooded our communities. We come reminded of the many bodies locked in jails and prisons all across this country. And we ask for your mercy.
Although we find ourselves in a broken world – a world in which hurting people hurt other people, it is no mystery that you are a God capable of healing our world through justice and fairness. Your own revelation has shown us that you stand firmly with those people whose backs are against the wall. Your own life demonstrates how you came from heaven to earth to redeem creation, our communities and our own lives. So we ask for this same redemptive power to be unleashed among us as it was on the day of Pentecost. May we be empowered by your Spirit to reverse the conditions that produce men and women who are driven to resort to violence and destructive behavior in their fight to stay alive and ustruggle to remain free.
We know that you have no pleasure in the death of anyone, so we boldly come to the throne of grace today dear Lord, seeking your wisdom as we create strategies that provide pathways and lifelines to hope and healing. Help us to remember we are all your children, created in your image, and we are connected by a single garment of mutuality and destiny. Cause us to never forget how our needs are the same and our calling to address these needs are the same. Reveal to us Lord, that the pain felt in Newtown is the same pain felt in Parkland. The tears shed in Charleston are the same tears shed in Sutherland Springs. The lives lost in Las Vegas are the same lives lost in Orlando. O God, 30 mass shootings this year. 585 lives lost to guns this year.
We cry out to you, heal our souls from this scourge of violence. Endow us with the courage to step down from the pulpits and out from behind our desks to seek the peace of the city. In the coming days and weeks as our leaders debate solutions, Lord we ask that you grant us the voice to speak truth power and demonstrate sacrificial compassion to the hurting.
Teach us your ways, O God. Bless us with the wisdom and strength to put down our swords and be peacemakers. Use us, work through us and, if necessary, work in spite of us to mend our nation’s brokenness.
We thank you for your protecting embrace and unfailing love.
All of these requests we bring to you, in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.