Orlando

All the usual expressions of grief that pour out during a tragedy seem very inadequate as responses to the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub, a haven for the LGBTQ community in Orlando, Florida.  Last year at this time it was an African American congregation in Charleston, South Carolina, that was hit.  In December 2012 it was elementary children and teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.  Evil, cowardly men seek out the most vulnerable in our society and reek destruction with powerful military assault weapons, and Congress fails to pass gun control laws to protect our citizenry.  We have been down this road so many times; the time for words is long past and the time for action is now.  It reminds me of the words of Micah the prophet, that God does not want our empty offerings but what God requires is “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God”.

The refusal of the majority in Congress to take action is shameful.  The second amendment to the Constitution does not confer an absolute right for private citizens to own any weapon in the arsenal of war.  Any nation that holds such a view is plainly stupid and suicidal.   Reasonable conditions for the safety of all must be imposed on gun ownership, just as they are imposed on automobile ownership.  A complete ban on all assault weapon sales and background checks for all gun sales are two reasonable measures, but the make-up of Congress will need to change for these to be enacted.  I hope you will vote accordingly and support organizations like the Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety to keep up pressure on Congress to take meaningful action.  And pray for God to save our nation from the extremists in the N.R.A!

On Thursday evening June 16 at the Second Congregational Church, Attleboro, there was a service of prayer and solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Orlando Massacre and with members of the LGBTQ community.   The setting sun highlighted the stained glass window with Christ as the central panel.  The light was intense and breathtaking, in a way that I had never seen before in stained glass.  God does not abandon his children but remains with them and bears their suffering.

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Christ Window at Second Congregational Church, Attleboro (photo by C. Brooks)

About John Fisk

I am a retired pastor, who served churches in New England for 33 years. I emigrated to the USA from England in 1974 and completed two graduate degrees in theology and pastoral practice at Andover-NewtonTheological School. In retirement I am focused on the teaching of Christian meditation, providing spiritual guidance, leading retreats and occasional preaching. I am particularly interested in contemplation, the mystical path and social justice.
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3 Responses to Orlando

  1. AnnIsikArts says:

    Thank you for this, for your sense of compassion for the victims of Orlando and for your common sense in respect of gun laws. I was interested to read that you originate from England. I note that the service you mention took place in Attleboro. Recently, my husband and I visited Attleborough in Norfolk. I wondered if there was a connection? Are you twinned?

    • John Fisk says:

      Thanks for reading and for your comment. Yes, Attleboro, Massachusetts, is named after Attleborough, Norfolk, England. Some of the first English settlers (about 1660) were from there. North Attleborough still retains the original spelling. I don’t think the places are twinned although there has been contact over the years. My wife and I visited Attleborough, Norfolk, 16 years ago when we were visiting a cousin and her family in Norwich. On that trip we also visited the church connected with the great mystic, Julian of Norwich.

      • AnnIsikArts says:

        That’s all very interesting, John. We visited Norwich, too on our recent trip and I wanted to visit the Church of St Julian but there was not time, on that occasion. I started reading Julian’s book a long time ago but never finished it. There’s a free audio copy on the Julian web site so I guess it is time to read it now. It’s possible I will be having some deeper connection with the area in future, so my ‘stumbling’ over your recent blog might just have been more of a ‘divine shove’. Thank you for being a conduit. As we all are, scary idea as that is.

        I had a look at Attleboro on the map. There are so many places named after Norfolk towns, I see. And I see Attleboro is on a direct diagonal with Salem, which I visited once while on a trip to Boston. Anyway, Attleboro is in a beautiful place. Ann

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