Speaking Out

Good people of West Parish,

Nearly 2 feet of snow fell along the 495 corridor, closing schools and businesses yet again.  I do hope that all of you were safe and warm at home, and your power stayed on!

Yesterday, schools in Andover and many other towns were closed for a second day, and yet around the country, many schools had a walkout.  Students walked out of class, both to remember the 17 who died in Parkland, Florida, but also to demand an end to gun violence.

I was moved to tears by a post on Facebook: a little elementary school girl in Maryland, ready to walk out of class, probably all by herself, to stand alone outside her school.  She did this for what she believed in.  Thousands of students also gathered in Washington DC yesterday, asking for something very simple: that they be safe in school.

Some of us will be attending rallies locally or in Boston on March 24.   And perhaps we have differing views on how to approach the problem of gun violence.   We may disagree on how best to regulate gun ownership, or what are the root causes.   

But one thing is clear to me: the young people who are speaking out and standing up and walking out are doing so for a greater good.   

And to me, this is what Church is all about.   We worship a God who granted us life, and desires joy for all beings.   And we follow Jesus, who directly challenged the oppressive and death-dealing forces of Rome.    The central figure in our religion participated in political protest!   The “cleansing of the temple“ and the “parade“ on Palm Sunday were direct challenges to the system.   Our legacy is to be agitators and activists!

Do those words sit uncomfortably with some of us?   Do we not see our religion that way?   Then we could try other words: Advocates for hope?   Evangelists for peace?   Builders of the kingdom?   Whatever words we choose and whatever actions we take, may we know that it is our Christian calling to work against powers of violence and hate, and to build up hope and love!