Once again hate has brazenly spoken in the life-stealing language of bullets. On Saturday evening, an armed gunman entered Club Q, a bar for the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Inside, he claimed the lives of five members of the community and wounded many others.
As a people of faith, and followers of Jesus Christ, we must condemn such acts as anathema to the Gospel of Love we proclaim. Hateful acts and speech have no place in our common life – not at a nightclub, not from our government leaders, and certainly not in the pulpits of our churches.
As many of us gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, we give thanks for the gift of family; those in which we were raised, those we have made, and those we have chosen. We know that, for too many, these tables will be hard places at which to sit. For some, places like Club Q are where chosen family gathers to celebrate, to love, and to dance. We pray for the day when everyone might know the abundant love of God through each and every person they meet. Until then, that is our work; to create spaces where all might come to know their beloved-ness before God.
As we move through these next few days:
Let us be extraordinarily kind to those we meet.
Let us be beacons of love at the grocery store, in traffic or at the airport, and around the tables where we will feast. And let us give thanks for the tables around which we gather as people of God, where we are all welcome and we are all loved by the one who invites us.
God of the broken hearted, we offer our fragile selves to you from a place of grief and loss. The news of the deaths in Colorado Springs at Club Q and the countless persons injured both physically and emotionally by this act of violence, calls us to a place of deep prayer.
We offer our prayers for those who have died and their family members who grieve. We offer prayers of healing for those who have been wounded by this mass shooting, and those for whom this attack opened old wounds and fears. And we offer our prayers for the shooter and his family.
Let us not neglect to offer prayers for ourselves at this time, calling upon God’s strength and courage to help us use our voice and our actions to change patterns of violence in this country, moving us towards a loving and inclusive beloved community that God calls us to share passionately with the world.
All this we ask in the name of the God of expansive, hope filled, and courageous love, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan