Prayer vigil to be held for Orlando victims

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2016

By Jack Alvey
Alvey is rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

When we pray, we aren’t simply asking God to do something for us. Even more, we call on the God who has already done everything for us in Christ. We call on the God who has forged the Way to the Kingdom of God by the One who took up the cross and let evil do its worst, by the One who walks through death into life.

When we pray to God in Christ, we pray to the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. Through prayer, we are resolved in a faith that believes Jesus has made the Way wide enough for all to follow into the land of light and life regardless of religion or sexual orientation or nationality or political persuasion.

As we commit to prayer the victims of the Orlando massacre, for the LGBTQ community, and for all who have been pushed to the margins of society, may we have the grace to see that Jesus is most present with these today just as Jesus was most present with the outcast in his earthly ministry.

And let us not forget Jesus’ most difficult command — pray for your enemies. Like St. Stephen who prayed for Saul his persecutor (later St. Paul) at the hour of his death, may we be unwavering in a faith that believes that forgiveness is the only weapon that has the power to stop more hatred and violence.

May all who call themselves followers of Jesus follow where he leads—to the margins of society. May we have the grace to weep with Jesus and hear the cry of all who are stripped of their dignity only because they are the most vulnerable-not because they are somehow less than.

May their cry turn into our cry and may WE breathe with Jesus our last breath in a world that is bent on perpetuating the cycle of violence, hate, terror, destruction, and fear and say, “It is finished.”

May we finally trust enough to venture beyond the cross and the grave of our own making and live in the world that God has already completed for us in Christ — a world where we see the other only as God sees us all — beloved sons and daughters. Beloved of Selma, in the name of Christ, I, along with other pastors and spiritual leaders in the community, invite you to a prayer vigil tonight at Songs of Selma Park at 5:30 p.m. as we remember the 50 who were killed because of the destructive forces of hate, intolerance, pride, and prejudice.

Remembering Jesus’ commandment to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’, I invite you also to stand in love with all those whom society declares unlovable especially the members of the LGBTQ community. I invite you to stand and witness to how the power of God’s love calls us to pray even for our enemies.

I invite you to stand up in the face of violence and oppression that pervades all facets of our common life together.