Pastor Bledsoe’s pastoral prayer and remarks from Sunday, June 12th:
It’s okay not to have the words to speak your grief. This grief will take a very long time to pour out of our lives in torrents of tears; to trickle out in beads of sweat; to bleed from us in what has been too bloody a wicked act already.
There is plenty of blame to pin on any number of persons from politicians to preachers to radio talk show hosts and the contemptible NRA and its brood of coward politicians. For now, until we have prayed our goodbyes and pondered what we have lost by these who have been slain, we need not assign blame. But a Day of Reckoning is coming for those who insist on fanning flames of hatred and then legislate access to assault rifles, guns and ammunition so that millions of Americans are turned into potential lone wolf terrorists.
It’s okay to be angry. Our anger is our wound, turned inside out. But today, this week, let us pray for these families who bear the terrible burden of loss. We will touch our wounds and weep with those who weep.
Our hearts especially break for the GLBT communities across our country and particularly in Orlando. Saturday I had the joy of participating in the Capital PRIDE march. Last week, I blogged about why I, a pastor, march but I did not think to include the reason that a madman, fueled by religious hatred, would gun down scores of innocents. After an ecstatic Saturday of marching in solidarity, I awakened on Sunday to this grievous news. Dearest GLBT individuals: we stand with you and express our profoundest sympathy as you were viciously attacked simply for being who you are. Beautiful. Wonderfully human. Children of God.
We will not abandon you in this time but pray for you and say again, we at Riverside are a refuge of peace for all and will not accept any religion—Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, ANY—that refuses to accept you for the gift you are. It is incumbent upon each religion and its practitioners and spokespersons to critically engage their religious teachings and stop persecuting Gay human beings.
We in the United States are living in a country that is terrorized by its own inhabitants. We are and have been perpetually at war now for more than fifteen years. We are polluted by violence.