On Wednesday, the weekly horror of gun violence in America came to the All Saints' neighborhood in Midtown. The church was put on lockdown, as were the other buildings around us. We could see police cars speeding down West Peachtree. A beautiful spring day was shattered by the all too well-rehearsed sequence of events that follow a shooting. Frightening for us but utterly devastating for the family of Amy St. Pierre who died from her gunshot wounds. Four other women were injured. How does the husband of Amy, Julian St. Pierre, begin to explain to their two young children that their mom is never coming home? How does anyone put words to such loss?
With all of the politics, the intransigence, the bewildering incapacity to effectively address this public safety crisis, it is easy for us - perhaps I should say, it is easy for me - to move too quickly to all of that, and neglect to feel the loss. A people created and formed within the love of God must make room for lament. We are called to weep with those who weep. Mourn with those who mourn. We need for the depth of our compassion to be the wellspring of our motivation for action. For, we need action.
Were Wednesday's events about access to firearms? About the regulatory responsibility of government? About mental health? About a culture of violence? About whether rights have the same moral value as life? Wednesday was about all of it, and more. The issues at hand are complex yet the ethical imperative is simple. Inaction in the face of violence and the taking of life is an abdication of our responsibility to love one another as God loves us.
I pray that together we might seek the welfare of the city. For in its welfare, in its shalom, we will find our own.