The past few weeks since Trayvon Martin's funeral, his death, the climate of fear that supports racism and divides us from one another has been a challenge for us all. I know some of us are even more afraid for our children and for our selves. Some of us are struggling more with despair that violence, especially racialized violence, may be brought to an end. Many of us are asking where the Holy is in all of this, for justice and safety give us a sense of the Holy's presence. As people committed to the way of steadfast love and the thriving diverse community where every person matters and every person's gifts are needed our faith is challenged to be bolder - bolder in caring for those who are grieving, bolder in creating accountability and trust in our cities and towns, bolder in the ways of love that require us to risk faithfully as people of peace. We need accountability and justice and we need a way of healing, in faithful memory of Trayvon Martin, in faithful care of all our children, friends, strangers, and neighbors.
Trayvon Martin’s death and the subsequent challenges to have a transparent process for justice and to bring hope and healing to Sanford, Florida – and everywhere that suspicion of our neighbors and strangers permits racism, inequity and violence –is a call to us as people of faith. Out of the brokenness of these events, out of the brokenness of losing another young person of great promise, out of the brokenness we live with every day we are called with love’s transforming power to faith and faithful action.
Most Merciful and Most Compassionate we are called to live boldly in compassion, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to not fear but to welcome the stranger. Yet we have failed and are struggling again, losing another child to violence and fear, losing ground living with love. For love flourishes in the safety of accountability, in the safety of each of us bearing responsibility, in the safety of mercy and restraint. Out of grief we raise our hearts and our voices, out of grief for our children, our friends, our loved ones, our neighbors. Out of grief for Trayvon Martin we raise our hearts and our voices. Out of fear we raise our hearts and our voices, out of fear for our children, our friends, our loved ones, our neighbors. Out of fear we raise our hearts and our voices, and that hate and fear continue to roam our hearts and the land, spurring more violence. Out of love we turn again with you and with each other seeking to not let fear and violence have the last word, seeking to remember the ones we have lost, seeking a restoration of accountability and responsibility for loving more boldly than we fear, more living more mercifully than we hate.
Comfort those of us who mourn and are afraid and especially bring us to comfort the grieving family and friends of Trayvon Martin. Strengthen us in bearing witness to the power of love to triumph over the power of fear, to lay down unjust laws. Guide our hearts, our words, and our deeds in creating true safe communities, where all our cherished, where strangers are made kin, where violence is put to rest by our becoming people of peace, people of the way of love. You have given us the power to be the ones who end this violence, who answer our sorrow and our fear, who respond to the loss of another child by creating another way where love rules, where all of us are responsible to and for one another, where we are bold in turning away the demons of fear and welcoming the holy presence of mercy, peace, and steadfast love. Amen.