[Episcopal Diocese of Washington]
Remarks of The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
On the One Week Anniversary of the Newtown Massacre
Washington National Cathedral
December 21, 2012
It is only natural to wonder in our worst moments whether God has abandoned us. Yet the more compelling spiritual question isn’t where God was last Friday morning, but rather, where we were. For God has no body on earth but ours.
Surely those who moved toward danger for the children’s sake were running with the feet of God, and those who grieve now are crying God’s tears as well as their own. But what about the rest of us? Where were we? And where are we now?
As people of faith, we’re good at showing up to provide comfort for those who grieve, and that is important, holy work. But now is also a time for us to show up in ways that will prevent such deaths in the future. If we only pray and offer comfort now, and do not act, we are complicit in perpetuating the conditions that allow such crimes to occur. It is time, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, to substitute courage for caution.
We urge all people of faith and good will to unite in common purpose. We call on Congress to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and to institute tighter controls on the sale of all guns. As a nation, we must improve access to mental health care and remove the stigma of receiving it. And it is past time for people of faith to speak out against our culture’s glorification and casual acceptance of violence.
There is a new Spirit blowing in our land. Momentum is building daily as more and more voices cry out for change. This is a time when even the smallest of gestures can make a tremendous difference for good. We have the opportunity to change the course of our nation.
Let us pray: Holy and merciful God, we remember before you the 28 who died in Newtown and countless others whose violent deaths that, to our shame, we hardly noticed. As the bell tolls, we commit ourselves to honor those precious ones lost by doing all we can to end gun violence across our land. Amen.