Prayer is a prelude.
Good Evening Brothers and Sisters, in the aftermath of the horror of Las Vegas, I am heartened to know that you’re gathered to remember and pray for the souls of those who have died, including Mr. Paddock. I am heartened that you have gathered to comfort one another with the comfort we find in Christ Jesus. Were I not traveling today, I would be blessed to be with you. Holy Scripture reminds us that we are to “…rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Tonight we weep. Tonight is an important part of what makes us human. Even
though Las Vegas is more than fifteen hundred miles away from Georgia, we are nevertheless connected with the men and women struck down and the loved ones the left behind by our ability to empathize and have compassion.
So, we pray. We reach to God in familiar words to remember the dead and send our positive psychic and spiritual energy to those still in shock and who will grieve for years to come. But let us remember also, Jesus was a man of prayer and of action. Prayer, for us, is a prelude to action. Prayer with no corresponding action is a useless and vain exercise. Most importantly, prayer without action is not the faith Jesus practiced!
My sincere prayer is that the lives of those killed in Las Vegas will not be in vain. I still have the audacity to believe that America is a great country! I still believe we can accomplish great things together. I believe we can affirm the Second Amendment, protect the rights of hunters and sportsman and enact common-sense gun laws and put into practice intelligent safety measures.
This is not a partisan sentiment. Morgues and cemeteries are not divided by political affiliation. And families do not cry red or blue tears. This is about coming to the realization that moments of silence and prayer will not, of themselves, make our culture safer. What will make our culture safer is ordinary people like you and I, from every political stripe, finding the courage to act.
Jesus often asked men and women he encountered, “What do you want?” As you are gathered to pray and remember tonight, I put his question to all of us, What do you want? I want an America where we are less afraid and more neighborly. An America where it is more difficult to get a semi-automatic weapon or high capacity magazines than it is to get a pack of Sudafed or Nasonex. I want an America where special interests like the NRA don’t control our elected officials with campaign donations and render them spineless.
I want an America where law enforcement officers are better equipped to keep us safe than criminals are equipped to do us harm. These are not Democratic dreams or Republican dreams, this is an American dream that can save us from our present American nightmare. What makes these kinds of dreams a reality is when you and I, by prayer and strengthened by the Sacraments and our fellowship together, take seriously the words our post Communion prayer:
“…Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart”
You are always in my thoughts and prayers, please let me be in yours.
Your brother and bishop,
Robert C Wright