I will miss being with you in the pulpit this Sunday, but pleased to welcome back Cantor Francine Chalin who will illuminate the significance of the Passover tradition. The children will also get to don masks that represent some of the plagues of the Passover story for the Time for All Ages, and I hate to miss this too. I can’t wait to attend our Passover Seder this Saturday night at 6:30. I love any event that celebrates community and freedom with delicious food. Our strong presence of Jewish traditions at our congregation is one of my favorite things about UUCSC!
It occurs to me that the big March for Our Lives that is also this Saturday in Los Angeles (and around the country) is appropriately timed, just a week before actual Passover. Every day, when we hear about another tragic and completely preventable gun-violence death, we feel the weight of this worsening travesty, and it feels like mental and emotional slavery. Today I heard about an African American young man, age 22, father of two, shot to death in his own back-yard in Sacramento, killed by police. All he had on him was a cell phone. From the pictures you can see he was a handsome man, and you can tell he loved his young children, too, by the way he is holding them in the photo.
And then we hear that young people who die in school shootings are merely a fraction of the total annual death toll from gun violence. Last year, over 13,000 people died from gun wounds, including an average of eight children who die every day in this manner. What is this plague that God sends the power-brokers of Egypt? What will it take for law-makers to locate their conscience, and refuse the campaign-funds of the NRA?
The March for Our Lives is like the Jews saying, “No more!” I hope we can all find the Moses within each of us as we work together to put a stop to this plague. Will it take a miracle to part the seas? No, it will take stamina, perseverance, and not taking no for an answer.
I am proud of my 15 year old niece and other Parkland, FL students who are leading the biggest march in Washington, DC. My brother and sister-in-law, for whom the most political thing they have ever done is vote, are driving all the way up from Florida to participate in the march with their daughter. Thankfully they have a place to crash (my aunt and uncle live on Capitol Hill) as I’m sure this will be an exhausting experience. I am so proud of my brother especially, who, instead of wallowing in his fear and outrage, is taking to the streets, just as the Jews finally marched out of Egypt, and (40 years later I believe) finally reached the promised land of freedom and righteousness.
We too must consider that this will be the fight of our lives, and hopefully it won’t take 40 years, but it might. We don’t need God’s interventions of plagues as we already have one: the needless and endless cascades of murders by gun violence, be it by ill-trained cops or disturbed souls. We demand freedom from this slavery! And we won’t stop marching/wandering until we reach the promised land of a more sane and safe society.
If you wish to join our group this Saturday at the March, you will find our people at the North Hollywood Metro Station downstairs by the ticketing area at 7:45 am, to take the Red Line to Pershing Square.
– Rev. Hannah