Enough, we say! Enough with violence, enough with debate, enough with the disagreements. Enough, enough, enough. We have all listened to the politicizing and the conversations in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Some of us know people who are touched personally by this horror. Some of us have had the stress of continuing with day to day life in the midst of the current climate, and we come to the final hours of the day and mourn silently in the darkness of our home. Some of us are quick to remember Charleston and Paris. Sandy Hook and Columbine. How has this become our world? How has this become the world in which we birth our children? A world where we teach them to have courage, to hope, and to work towards justice? How do we expect them to be successful when sometimes we don't even know the way forward?
As a community of faith, one of our great gifts is that we can bring people together. In the days following the attack, people rightly gathered in places of worship to remember, to sing, and to say, "enough is enough." And indeed, this is happening across our region. A local community of Muslims held an open Iftar this week, where the waiting list was over 300 people. On Capitol Hill, two Jewish congregations came together to host a Pride Shabbat this Friday, and the registration is at capacity. We cannot help but acknowledge that when the doors are open, we want to come and share together in our common humanity.
At Northminster, we were privileged to be able to host a local neighborhood vigil of lament and remembrance. We must never forget that as Christians, we stand uniquely poised to welcome people, no matter what, with unconditional love. Our theology of hospitality should pave our way in these moments. As people who believe that God made his home with us, we have every reason to open doors and none to close them. As Christians, we must proclaim and lean into this part of our identity, lest we risk forgetting the breadth and power of our practice.
As we come together, we not only stand in solidarity, but we also have the opportunity to proclaim our resistance. As followers of Jesus, we affirm deeply the assertion that every human being is made in the image of God without blemish or distortion. We delight in all kinds of humans, with a full range of abilities, sexualities, skin colors, and ages. Because of this affirmation, we simply cannot remain silent in a world that is growing more comfortable with languages of power, oppression, and authoritarianism. We must speak out - in the ways that we are able. And we must say, enough is enough is enough.
As the pastor of Northminster, my hope is that we move forward in two ways:
1. We choose to stand together in diversity, even disagreement perhaps, but with the intention of staying connected to each other in community.
2. We turn our words into actions of hope. We speak out in resistance. We invite people into our homes and our churches. We visit a gay night club as a sign of solidarity. We speak clearly to our children that God loves all people and made them in God's image. This cannot be spoken enough.
We must be clear with our words, but our words must bear into actions. We with hold judgment of others, and we focus all of our energy on asking ourselves, "what can I do now?"
Perhaps our biggest temptation is to believe that we are too small, too little, too old, too tired, too busy, too overwhelmed to make a difference. To that, I remind us of the words of Jesus in Matthew where he says, "come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." We are weary. Our labor is heavy. And Jesus here offers himself alongside in our journey, to help carry the load. He does not tell us we are wrong to have burdens, to be tired, or weary. Only that with his help and presence, we can indeed actually find rest.
So, alongside of our gracious guide, let us say, "enough is enough is enough."