This weekend has been declared a Weekend of Peace by the Chicago Clergy Coalition. If you were expecting to hear about stewardship today, never fear, you will, another day! Working for peace IS about stewardship, but Peace in our City is our emphasis today. Before we begin our conversation, I want to acknowledge that the topic of violence- gun violence in particular- is one we come to from various life stories and experiences. Some of you have no doubt been touched deeply by its tragic consequences and know about gun violence in ways far more profound than I do, from all different sides of the issue. Others of of you may have had little to no awareness of the epidemic we are facing in this great city right now. That is okay. That is why we are starting a conversation, to get a dialogue going.
Let Us Pray:
Speak to us, Lord, that we may hear what we need to hear. Guide us that we might live as we ought to live. Amen.
My bones are dried up, my hope has perished. Some mornings, when I read the number of shootings that took place in my own city, this is my first reaction. The problem seems too big sometimes. The issues aren’t simple; recent coverage of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado has increased our dialogue about access to firearms, the banning of assault weapons, access to mental health services and the necessary follow up, public security, internet purchasing…
In our own city of Chicago, there are politics and drugs, finances and gangs, and all these interplay around gun violence in ways it is hard for me to get my head around sometimes. My bones feel dry. My heart is heavy.
But hear the Lord’s Word, says the prophet Ezekiel.
“I will put breath in you,” earlier translations read, “I will put my spirit in you.” Breathe, Arise, Come out of that grave! These dry bones shall live!
And they come to life not because of my power, or your power, but because God gives us life, gives us breath, and God is big enough for the most monstrous of problems. We are not to lose hope, then, even in the face of our current crisis, our current emergency, because God is Lord. God is bigger, even than death.
Often, when reading this story, of the dry bones, we think of life after death. With Christian lenses, we imagine a grand resurrection when we will all break out of our graves, God has conquered death and all humankind shall live ever more.
Other times, this story is used as a metaphor for healing, for new life, life restored after brokenness of some kind or other. (more…)