FOR ME, THE lasting image from Parkland was that of two women hugging, one still bearing the mark of the cross on her forehead. It was Ash Wednesday, the day the church prepares herself to understand and live into the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection, entering Lent through prayer, repentance, and the practice of other spiritual disciplines such as fasting or abstaining. The photo captured a sense of urgency, fear, relief, grief, and deep love. I cannot get that image out of my head.
We’re now in the season of Easter, when Christians have broken their fasts—alcohol, chocolate, the internet, meat—and are done greeting one another with a call and response of “He is risen!” and “He is risen, indeed!” The woman whose picture I cannot forget—her ashes will have long been wiped away, but what of her fear and grief and possibly anger? What did she choose to give up for Lent and was that promise to abstain replaced with something else in the wake of the violence?
The 17 victims will have long been memorialized, but what will have been done for the survivors’ guilt and trauma? Will we have tried to guess at how long is long enough to wait before starting conversations about gun control, mental health, and policy changes? How will our country change, if at all? And what is God’s invitation to us? Is God asking us to a longer season of repentance? Action? Both?
Right now, I feel in my body and in my prayers the dissonance and difficulty of claiming to be Easter Sunday people living in a Good Friday world, because I am not sure anything will change. I am not sure that any legislators, national or local, will propose and pass any legislation, any changes that will protect children from someone (most likely a young white man) plowing through the school with an assault rifle.
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