Actually, I’ve always loved Valentines’ Day – it’s ALMOST up there with Halloween! I like making valentines with my kids. But this year, it’s different, and I reflect that it may never be the same lighthearted holiday again.
It’s raining like crazy – the sky is crying! – and I’m listening to all the anniversary programs on the radio about the Parkland, FL shooting, which happened one year ago. My niece survived it, and seems to be thriving in the year since, as though she realized how precious life really is. But the trauma of all those kids must be in flux – not everyone receives the gift of post-traumatic growth.
One project is Parkland high schoolers profiling all the kids who have died in gun violence around the country, since February 14, 2018 (see www.sinceparkland.org) – over 12oo! It’s very, very sad! My heart aches for all the victims and the survivors. ALL the children and youth lost from us, like a slow-leak war that won’t end, a barbaric war. These stories of families and individuals don’t get covered like the mass shootings. These tragic stories and losses occur under the radar, especially for people of color.
These kinds of true stories cry out for mercy, and that’s what I’ll be talking about this Sunday, and Antoinette Scully, Social Justice Chair, will talk about February 24th. This Black History month, we’ll be looking at how our legacies of violence – American history – make living hard today, and how we might try to build a new understanding of the world as it is, making an age of mercy.
Mercy is not your typical liberal religious topic. It speaks of spiritual power that can offer solace and comfort: like deep and steady rain after a long, long drought.
“Happy” Valentines’ Day! xoxo
– Rev. Hannah