The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me… to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. Isaiah 61:1,2b-3
Over this past Memorial Day weekend, my heart poured out. As we were mourning the losses that military families have suffered, there were more than forty shootings in our city of Chicago. Ten souls lost their lives.
That included a thirteen-year-old who was killed while sitting in a pizzeria. A seven-year-old girl was shot while playing in front of her home, apparently the victim of gang cross-fire. According to the Chicago Tribune, over 851 people have been the victim of a shooting this year, and over 200 have been killed just this year alone. This weekend, the violence has continued, with 15 injured as of Sunday morning and another two killed.
This violence must end.
As United Methodists, we realize that this Pentecost season is a season to comfort those who mourn. We are to nurture them into becoming a witness of God’s work for all people.
I add my voice to many others who are saying that we cannot tolerate any more suffering and killing. We ask for justice to roll down like waters to allow our streets to be safe for all people. We ask for violence interrupters to be deployed to all parts of our city. And we pray that God’s reality of a world free of violence would be true for all of God’s children, everywhere, including our city of Chicago. Let us confront the structures of injustice, racism, and oppression. Let us not be numb to those who are God’s children. Pray and act to stop the shooting.