It is good to join you this morning as we gather as the Living Body of Christ. I have been gone from this community for the last year as I have been with Holy Trinity Lutheran on Mercer Island as a field learning experience as a part of my seminary education. It is good to be home.
I am home in another way as well. This past week, I was in Atlanta for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Worship Jubilee. Over the past week I experienced well-crafted worship in many styles, learned in workshops, and met interesting people from around our church. It was an amazing week and I am filled with joy for the future of the church.
Also this week, I awoke on Friday morning to learn of the attempted massacre in a movie theater in Lafayette Louisiana. And then to learn that one of the women killed, Jillian Johnson, graduated from my high school the year before me. As is often the case with people with whom we attend school, I did not know her well, but people who I knew well knew her well. And the community of my youth is grieving.
After a week of being fed in the spirit through worship, prayer, fellowship, and meal, I awoke to great sorrow.
Sorrow for the life of a classmate and the grief of a community.
Sorrow for a country in which gun violence is all too common.
In the past month in our country, we have had a rash of shootings for which to feel sorrow. Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette.
And these are not the only shootings in our country. You see, also last week, according Slate magazine, there were at least fifteen murder-suicides involving guns. Eleven of these were men killing women.
In one week, at least eleven murder-suicides with men killing women with guns.
In a week that for me was filled with joy and love and hope.
This is some serious emotional whiplash.