It happened. The biggest massacre since 9/11. The next tick in the historical series of attacks against the LGBTQIA community and their sanctuaries. And I still, really don't have words. Only tears.
I will share with you words culled from others during my relentless need to connect with people on Facebook. Also, I learned that it was Latinx night at Pulse. That means that the lives that were lost were likely predominantly people of color. While the person who did harm probably didn't know that, it is important to center Latinx LGBTQ voices in this conversation. That will come, I hope.
Today's practice is inspired by the voices speaking out regarding the massacre at Pulse, music from Mark A. Miller-a prayer song he wrote in response to the Orlando massacre at Pulse, the sonnet from Lin-Manuel Miranda that he read at the Tony awards last night, and wisdom from Colleen Hoover for allies, along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. The photo is from Toby Scott--the Rainbow flag in Seattle flying at half-mast. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out).
As we stood in the Harvey Milk Plaza, I was mindful of the dozens of times we have stood at that intersection as community. We have marched for health care, for visibility, for rights. We have celebrated milestones we had never dreamed possible when we were younger. Yet tonight, we gathered to grieve. All the fear I have felt over the years came flooding back, and the words of the poet Adrienne Rich reminded me: "Two women sleeping together have more than their sleep to defend." In the dark of night, I will pull my spouse close. Heads close, we will say a prayer for those who have died. And we will whisper in each other's ears, "I love you."
I am horrified to hear that our local Muslim community, specifically MAPS of Redmond, has been threatened. They were alerted to the threat by the Redmond Police. MAPS had earlier today unequivocally condemned the violence in Orlando, saying " We need to understand that an assault on the rights on any minority group, including the LGBT group, is an assault on the rights of any other minority group, including Muslims. LGBT groups have been at the forefront of fighting bigotry and intolerance and have long stood with the Muslim community in opposing discrimination and prejudice. We express our deepest feelings of sympathy to the friends and families of the victims of this massacre. " Stand with all our sibling, Muslims, LGBTQI and all who stand against hate and violence.
Borrowed from a favorite northeast UMC District Superintendent. Thanks, L.:
"The church is complicit because for far too long we have refused to repent of our errant theology. We taught intolerance - intolerance of other races; intolerance of other ethnicities; intolerance of other identities; intolerance of other languages; intolerance of another gender. We taught Intolerance! And, intolerance for some people is translated into hate."
If you are reeling from the horror and feeling overwhelmed - go out into Nature.
Walk along the shore and pray and rant and cry and send blessings.
Hug a tree and give yourself over to its solidness, its rooted nature.
Sit in the wind and let it blow away the tumult of feelings you're experiencing. Be a conduit for those involved, letting the wind cool the white hot grief they are feeling.
Lie in the grass and stare up at the big, blue sky. We're all in this together. Even connecting with your tiny patch of grass brings you into community with the whole.
So mote it be. Sending love...
“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
1) We are not all gay now.
2) This was not an attack on all Americans.
If you are not LGBT or Q, you might not want to dictate how people express their feelings today.
So your neighbor doesn't dress the way you do, pray the way you do, or at all, it's okay, that is what America is about. Let them be them, and you be you. Stop the hate, Stop the killing. I does not solve anything.
"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense once hate is gone they will be forced to deal with pain."--James Baldwin
Holding in light and love all those affected by the violent attack and murders in Orlando: the family and friends of those killed, the family and friends of those injured, the emergency responders and medical staff assisting those who are injured, the community in Orlando, and our broader community who feels the loss, fear, anger, and threat.
Prayers for peace.
Prayers for more understanding.
Prayers for healing.
Prayers for connection.
Prayers for more love.
I woke up to the news of a well-prepared execution of 20 queer people. In the United States. In 2016.
Children, people of color, LGBTQ people: none of us must ever think of ourselves as casualties, even when those with power and privilege say we are incompatible.
Prayers lifted up for all those whose lives have been irrevocably impacted by the mass shooting at an lgbtq dance club in Orlando, for young people anywhere, who may be struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identity--who experience bullying and violence almost daily--who feel this trauma in unspoken and intense ways, and for this nation--that we may finally pass sensible gun control laws. God, hear our prayers.
As I greet the morning with quiet and a cup of coffee, others across the country in Orlando and other places are waking up to terror and loss and grief. I pray for all those affected by the shooting in Orlando and I pray that our country's addiction to violence, especially gun violence, would come to an end. God in your mercy!
I woke up near 4:30am PST. I'd left the tv on in my hotel room. The news of the terror, the mass killings at the LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando was playing. My heart sank. I felt so sad for those who were harmed and their families. Then I felt fear as I wondered if my niece, a lovely lesbian young adult woman who lives in Orlando might have been at that club. I trembled as I sent her a text. When she didn't answer I called. How happy I was when she answered the phone. How sad, she and I were as we briefly discussed the news. We then said goodbye, with my intent to keep watching the updates and her beginning to make calls to check on her friends.
We are still waiting to hear the motive for this heinous act. I have no doubt it's hatred, evil unabashed hatred. Yes they call it "domestic terror" and it is. Someone hated those persons at Pulse so much that they wanted to harm them and incite fear. To that this one thing I know: We should never allow hatred to make us yield our lives to being in constant fear.
God help us.
I did not listen to news prior to going to worship this morning, and so did not know what had happened in Orlando, Florida until later today. Why does this senseless violence continue to erupt? I am against individuals being able to own automatic pistols or "assault" rifles. They were created for war. Their only use is to kill many people at once as today's tragedy shows. Hunters can't shoot geese or quail or deer or other "game" with them, so why do otherwise rational people protect a "right" for individualt to own them? I truly don't know. What I do know is that I dearly love some people who disagree completely with me on this issue, and I will continue to love them while I oppose their stance on ownership of these nasty weapons. I will continue to love and never stop loving the marginalized and stigmatized, be they GLBTQ or Muslim or Right Wing Republicans. And since I can't solve anything by writing, tomorrow I will make love visible and donate a pint of my B+ blood. "There's power in the blood."
Praying for an end to this culture of violence and hatred. How long, O Lord? Let us be peacemakers, bridge-builders, those who bind up rather than tear apart, who seek to see God's image in every person we meet.
Praying for victims. Praying for survivors. Praying for those who are living in fear.
Remembering especially queer and trans Muslim friends and colleagues who are likely feeling assaulted from all sides.
Let's be clear, either/or assumptions does no good in these situations.
Prayers for those impacted by #pulseclubshooting . We can not rejoice today in our churches without lamenting. 50 dead and 53 injured, the worst mass shooting in the history of our nation. This is the time of lament with those who mourn.
How long, O God?
My church preaches hate in the name of unity but only some of us will be slain.
50 people. Human lives. Sacred Worth. Image of God. Sighs too deep for words. God, help us.
Just hearing about the tragedy at Pulse. Disaster. For those LGBTQ people traumatized, for those beautiful people who lost their lives, and for their friends and families...love and light.
The #UMC GC2016 wouldn't support a petition against bullying LGBTQ youth. It'd be rather hypocritical for it to voice support today. #Pulse
50 people were killed it is now reported last night in Orlando, 53 people are wounded. So much to pray for: for the victims and their families, for the wounded and those who are treating them, for those who dismiss or condone any level of hatred expressed toward the LGBTQ community, and for an end to the unlimited access to guns in this country. Lord in your mercy, hear our many prayers
This is why it's time for the church to step up for inclusion. We are only perpetuating the hate.
I am heartbroken and sick to my stomach to wake up to this news. I think I might be in shock-- I really feel like I might throw up. This is not OK. Why is our society OK with this?
Pride Month & Ramadan and yet I am so overwhelmed by grief at the moment. To everyone in Orlando, please be safe and take care of each other.
If you think hateful rhetoric isn't important, look at Orlando. Look at the responses to Orlando.
There are people celebrating the deaths of human beings, human beings like me and many of my friends who fall under the LGBTQA umbrella.
There are people calling for the extermination of all people of one religion.
Does any of this sound familiar? Is this the kind of world we want to live in? To raise our children in? And yet, the media continues to give hatemongers more air time because it is good for ratings.
I'm absolutely sick today.
When will hate ever end? Positive Thoughts, Prayers, and good vibes heading to the friends and families of the massacre at #Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
If your religion is telling you to kill, then the problem is your religion....and you, a weak brained coward!
I am praying for Orlando. But I'm sick, sick, sick of praying for mass shootings. No more prayer. Resolve. Kindness. Courage. Action. Love.
Please friends, pray for an end to all this senseless murder. And do more than pray; put your prayers into praxis. Work tirelessly for justice and peace and prophetically demand change that embraces a respect for life and a rejection of all our tools of death.
Shocked. Horrified. Sickened. How long, O Lord? How long?! Praying for the victims, friends and family, and Orlando. Thankful for the outpouring of support, especially all of those lined up to donate blood and the medical personnel working tirelessly to tend the wounded. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
I'm more than very sad. I'm angry. Gun fetishists wonder why some of us are so militant about stronger gun laws. Why do people need assault weapons? Isn't the loss of 50 precious lives enough reason to change? Responsibility for this and each mass murder lands squarely on the shoulders of the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, and other groups that have stood with gun manufacturers rather than doing what is right and supporting stronger gun laws.
I have so much to say about this event, but it's too painful to talk about it just yet. My heart hurts for my community today. Sending love to Orlando.
Our hearts break for our friends in Orlando and indeed for our country. 50 killed and scores more wounded at a nightclub shooting last night that was likely inspired by a hatred of gay people. It is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Hold on tight to the ones you love.
This morning as we hold in prayer the now 50+ lives that were taken in the tragic shooting last night in Orlando, and those who loved them, we remember the ways in which our society and our church encourage violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, especially those who are also people of color. We pray to God for an end to violence against all who are marginalized and we remember that the same God we pray to is also the one who calls each of us to be involved in the work of creating a more just church and world. May the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer be spoken this morning in every pulpit and may every pastor preach what is true: they are beloved people of God.
Orlando, FL. #PulseClub
50 dead, 53 injured. All LGBTQIA or people who love LGBTQIA folk.
I'm impressed with all my friends who have words. I have none but these. Just to acknowledge that I know. And that I am crying uncontrollably.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh.
More Love by Mark A. Miller
When the night surrounds
Violence closes in
Hate is all around us
We pray the prayer again
Sonnet By by Lin-Manuel Miranda
My wife's the reason anything gets done
She nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is a perfect symphony of one
Our son is her most beautiful reprise.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they're finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa's symphony, Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music, love and pride.
Jewish Daily Reading
Christian Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading
Buddhist Daily Reading
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“I have one thing to say to you
And I’m not referring to the bullies
Or the ones they pursue.
I’m referring to those of you that just stand by
The ones who don’t take up for those of us that cry
Those of you who just…turn a blind eye.
After all it’s not you it’s happening to
You aren’t the one being bullied
And you aren’t the one being rude
It isn’t your hand that’s throwing the food
But…it is your mouth not speaking up
It is your feet not taking a stand
It is your arm not lending a hand
It is your heart
Not giving a damn.
So take up for yourself
Take up for your friends
I challenge you to be someone
Who doesn’t give in.
Don’t give in.
Don’t let them win.”
― Colleen Hoover
I will be taking the weekly prayer from the World Council of Churches rather than writing a new prayer daily. At this point, we know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. I know it is not de rigeur to have repetitive content, but I believe that these prayers deserve to be repeated.
Focus countries: Angola and Mozambique
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
The United Nations, especially the World Food Program, and other organizations that work to assist the people of Angola and Mozambique.
Organizations and faith communities that continue to provide hope to people battered by civil war.
The efforts to keep open dialogue between opposing communities.
Farmers who risk planting fields even when landmines might be present.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
Rebuilding these countries devastated by civil war.
Those who have been left homeless or who have fled as refugees.
The tens of thousands of people who have lost limbs to landmines, and for all people who must deal with them for years to come.
Children who have never known peace, who have been traumatized and victimized by war.
A balance of rain and sunshine so that crops will grow.
Greater supplies of food and lower prices, so that the poor are able to afford to feed themselves and their families.
Those suffering from HIV and AIDS, their families, and their communities.
An end to international debt bondage.
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.