Learn more about who we are by following our blog, written by our pastor, preacher, and chief evangelist. Engage in the everyday sacred as Abby writes about the deep and ordinary all at once.
"Thoughts and prayers," without the will to change policy or practice, is the very definition of "faith without works." How much longer can we wait for the mass killings to end? It seems like not long ago, Grace Community Boston gathered heartbroken, during Advent, shocked at the news of Sandy Hook. In response we wrote letters, plastered bumper stickers on our cars that read, “If not now, when? Ban assault weapons!” with the date of the Sandy Hook tragedy. As a church we joined the Everytown for Gun Safety movement. The following year we collected the same number of mittens and gloves as the children senselessly murdered in Sandy Hook and donated them to a shelter. We have done much more than pray, we have acted. But still, the killing goes on. Guns are idolized in our culture.
Here’s a little perspective: 54 Americans were killed and 425 were wounded during the main phase of 2nd Fallujah, in November 2004. This was the biggest battle of the Iraq War. In Las Vegas, 59 were killed and over 500 wounded.
What are we to do?
In this moment, perhaps the only truly Christian response is lament. Action next week. But this week, lament.
A good and wise clergy friend posted the following lament to her wall. It has rung true for me this week:
“I'm not 'praying for Las Vegas' today. I'm not praying for anything or anywhere or anyone right now. I'm on strike. Not sure when God and I will be back on speaking terms. Right now I don't have it in me to overwhelm this great empty space with hope-filled murmuring about God’s love and abiding presence in the midst of tragedy. I don't rule it out for later, but right now I can't even bear the thought of 'God.' I'm not looking for reassurances or encouraging words. I won't be rushed to Easter. I'm sitting still with this crucified absurdity for however long it takes.”
Raise an angry fist to God. She won’t mind. In fact, maybe she is raising a fist too. Lament is the faithful response. We will act later.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.