“Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children because they are no more.” – Jeremiah 31:15
I don’t know that there are useful words to say in the aftermath of the Texas elementary school shooting. If the words and commitments after Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and so many other school shootings have not been effective at controlling gun violence, it is naïve to think that this shooting will be different; that these 21 lives lost will be valued more than all those that have been lost before.
And yet, there is a voice. The voice of Rachel, screaming in tears, utterly bereft. Rachel’s voice is beyond words. It strikes at the heart. And it will not be silenced.
When my soul hears that voice, it strikes terror into me. I am a parent who sends her child to school every day, trusting that they will come home. Trusting that there will be no violent insanity that means a morning’s hurried “Goodbye, have a great day! I love you!” will be my last words to a living child.
Rachel’s voice gives me strength to gird my loins so that even if my voice is also screaming into the void, I will not be quiet about advocating for actions that will make my child and other children safer. Surely, eventually, there will be enough voices, enough cries, that our hearts will be changed and the love of God will enfold us in such a way that we will truly love our neighbors and not tolerate as normal or acceptable the murders of children at school; shoppers at grocery stores; worshippers in churches and synagogues.
If you wish to lift your voice in prayer, there are some resources here.
There are several vigils that will be held around Arizona tonight.
Church of the Epiphany in Tempe is holding a vigil tonight, May 25th at 5:30 pm.
Arizona Faith Network is hosting a Candlelight Vigil and Call for Action tonight, May 25th at 6:30 pm at the Arizona State Capitol Building. You can find more information on their Facebook page
The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has Resources to Respond to Gun Violence
The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, has offered his prayer for Uvalde HERE
And if you wish to find a way to take action, there are some resources here.