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United Church of Canada

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"Never again"

"Never again"

'We always did say 'Never again,' but it did happen again. It's unbelievable,' Holocaust survivor says

 

This is a quote from a CBC news article about the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue where 11 people lost thier lives. These people died in the one place that should be safe, that was safe.  One man, driven by hate and intolerance, armed with a gun, opened fire on a gathering of faithful people going about their business.  One man, convinced that his race is the only true and rightful one, decided that a group of older people, unarmed and unaware, would make the best target to prove his point. 

And the US President, "when asked if the shooting indicated a need to revisit gun laws, Trump replied that the shooting "has little to do with it" and that an armed guard might have been able to stop the gunman 'immediately.'"  (quoted from a CNN article on the shooting).  Indeed, this is the response the world needs to hear, that communties of faith need to hear... just guard your churches with guns, and nothing like this needs to happen again.

Except that doesn't fix the bigger issue.  We are currently living in a society where the words of non-violence and inclusion are being drowned out by the noisy hate filled rhetoric of a few.  Shocking violence like this will continue as long as some continue to deny those who are different from themselves their humanity.  It takes more effort and vulnerability to sit down with someone of a different race, culture, religion, gender identity and to talk to them, to open yourself up to being changed by them, than it takes to live in the hate and use it to fuel violence.  And yet it can be done...

Just this week, on a CBC program I was listening to (don't ask which one because I can't remember right now), there was a story of a black man who was interacting with members of the KKK in his state.  Long story short, through persistance and open conversation, this man was able to open the hearts and minds of these Klansmen to the point where they left the Klan, and began to foster relationships with the very people they persecuted.  

this is what the world needs right now.  

We don't need politicans endorsing guarded worship services.

We don't need hate in the guise of immigration laws.

We don't need violence and death.

We need patience.

We need courage.

We need to remember that at the end of the day, the blood and flesh of humanity is our commonality.  Our colour, our religion, our gender... it doesn't matter.  In fact Christians or Jews, Indegenious or settlers, black or caucasian, straight or LGBTQ2S+, genderedt or gender fluid, rich or poor, migrant or immigrant or refugee or citizen .... none of it matters... what matters is that we are human.  It is our choice to see that as the core of how we interact with one another, or ignore it and act from that view.  

I pray, no I yearn, for the day when it becomes the norm to say "I don't understand, but lets talk about it" instead of letting fear fuel hatred to the point where the only way to ease the fear is to kill it.

That is not God's plan or dream.  

As we struggle with these deaths in Pittsburgh.  As we struggle with the stories of the migrants walking from Hondorus to the States.  As we struggle with the journey towards reconciliations with our indigenious siblings... know that the Holy struggles with us.  Just as we cry and yell and ask "why?", God is right there with us, crying, yelling and loving us into a new way of being.  

May we hold on to that hope.  

 

 

Written by : Tricia Gerhard

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Sunset United Church

 

Phone: 306-586-3613

office@sunsetunited.ca

177 Sunset Drive
Regina, SK, S4S 6Y7

Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Tuesday - Friday