A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Monday, June 13th, 2016 5:58 pm

June 13, 2016

 

In the wake of the horrifying attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning the Methodist Federation for Social Action Co-President Rev. Vicki Flippin shares: “When I ask where God is in these moments, the only conclusion that feels right is that our God, Lord of the Dance, died of a gunshot wound in the Pulse nightclub on Sunday morning, that our God is today young and queer fighting for life in a Florida ICU, that our God is tearing up and giving and receiving hugs at vigils all over the world this week. God is NOT glorified in ANY religious teachings, including our own, that promote hate, discrimination, or violence. We stand today with all people of faith, including and especially Muslim communities and individuals, that uphold the religious truths that love is greater than hate and that LGBTQI people everywhere deserve to feel safe and valued.”  

We are reminded today of the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

“Thus says YHWH: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and bitter weeping. Rachel, weeping for her children, refuses to be comforted, for her children are no more.”  - Jeremiah 31:15 (The Inclusive Bible)

We invite you to join us for a virtual prayer vigil, a time to gather, mourn, grieve and pray together. We invite you join this vigil by phone on Thursday, June 16th at 9:00 PM (EDT). To join the vigil please RSVP here: http://goo.gl/forms/6npwCjwBAQ5q6ldG2. You will receive a link to join the vigil on Thursday morning.

MFSA interim Executive Director, Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck reminds us: “Scripture calls us to pray without ceasing. As justice seeking people of faith, prayer is both active and contemplative. In times of crisis it both centers us and calls us to sacred change. May we be agents of sacred change today and all days, God being our guide and holy agitator.”

Today families, friends and neighbors mourn with bitter weeping, refusing to be comforted. LGBTQI lives, many black and brown bodies, children of sacred worth, once again were targeted and lost. Bishop Carcaño, in a statement released on Sunday, said: “As I have prayed for the victims of this latest shooting, for the shooter and his family, for the people of Orlando, and for us, I have been struck by a concern that has penetrated my heart. Is it possible that we United Methodists with such a negative attitude and position against LGBTQI persons contribute to such a crime?” We give thanks for Bishop Carcaño, her prophetic leadership and her prayerful honesty. When we proclaim lives are incompatible with Christian teaching in our polity, when we preach and teach a theology of exclusion rather than a gospel of inclusion, we too pave the way for violence and discrimination to follow.

Our hearts mourn with LGBTQI family and friends in Orlando and all acts of violence committed against LGBTQI lives, our prayers join yours and we too call out into the wilderness refusing to be comforted for our children are no more.

The Methodist Federation for Social Action renews our commitment to work for justice for all of God’s children both within the structures of The United Methodist Church, in our local communities and throughout our world. We continue to proclaim that God’s LGBTQI children are persons of sacred worth and as such condemn heterosexism and homophobia in all its forms.  

The intersection of race/ethnicity and sexual orientation in the attack which took place in Orlando on Sunday morning cannot be denied. Communities of color have been and continue to be systematically targeted for acts of individual and institutional violence in this country. Racism is woven into the very fabric of our institutional structures both within the polity of our denomination and the United States. Just last month, The United Methodist Church during General Conference repented for our egregious participation in the Sand Creek Massacre. We, The United Methodist Church, have been perpetrators of violence both in our complicity and in direct action.

Our hearts mourn acts of violence committed against all communities of color, our prayers join yours and we too call out into the wilderness refusing to be comforted for our children are no more.

MFSA calls upon ourselves and our progressive partners, along with local churches, annual conferences, and all denominational bodies, to confess and condemn the sins of systemic and personal racism, and to engage in the hard work of repentance and reconciliation.

As the nation mourns a great tragedy committed by an individual, our newsfeeds fill up with the scapegoating of an entire religion for the acts of the few. We know Muslim people to be faith-filled, peace-loving neighbors and committed partners in interfaith movements for justice and nonviolence. We know Islam to be a religion of peace, rooted in compassion and service to community.

Our hearts mourn with our Muslim family, friends and neighbors, our prayers join yours and we too call out into the wilderness refusing to be comforted for our children are no more.

MFSA calls upon all justice seeking people of faith to resist rhetoric of scapegoating and Islamophobia. We encourage our chapters, partners and individual members to seek out opportunities for interfaith understanding and dialogue by reaching out to local interfaith partners. We believe our lives and faith is enriched through interfaith partnership.  

The tragedy in Orlando is yet another reminder that weapons are too readily accessible in our country. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said yesterday: “…Every single day, 91 Americans are killed by gun violence, and hundreds more are injured. We will never accept these shootings as the new normal, and we must continue to demand our lawmakers act and work to keep guns out of dangerous hands. The phrase “another mass shooting” does not have to be a part of the American vocabulary.”

Our hearts mourn with our family, friends and neighbors impacted by gun violence, our prayers join yours and we too call out into the wilderness refusing to be comforted for our children are no more.

MFSA calls upon all justice seeking people of faith to work to end gun violence in our communities through sensible gun laws. To do so we recommend you connect to our partners in this ministry of  non -violence, Everytown for Gun SafetyMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

“As our hearts mourn with so many communities, we recommit ourselves to MFSA's mission of energizing people to be agent's of God's justice, peace, and reconciliation, and we call on all United Methodists and persons of faith to seek ways to live out this work in our local contexts as well as more broadly.” Rev. Dr. Christina Wright, MFSA Co-President  

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Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has worked to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God's justice, peace, and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA leads both church and society on issues of peace, poverty, people's rights, progressive issues, and justice in The United Methodist Church. For more information visit www.mfsaweb.org


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