That is what we do this day, when gun violence and hate and senselessness happens in your own backyard.
The details are well known by now…as the shooting, which killed three people – a grandfather and a grandson at the Jewish Community Center of Overland Park, and an elderly woman at Village Shalom – has made national news. My guess is, it’s made national news, not because of who was killed…but because of who killed them. A 73 year old, white, male, who is an ex-KKK leader and (it is reported) proudly yelled “heil Hitler” before getting into the back of a police car. That makes news. And we grieve.
But the truth is, Kansas City rarely grieves corporately for violence. If they did, we would mourn weekly, as the City averages two homicides a week. That’s TWO people dying at someone else’s violent hands…per WEEK.
I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind, when he cried out to God, saying, “Forgive them…”
Forgive them…when they do not recognize the value of each human life.
Forgive them…when they can not find the courage to stand and preach and pray and work daily, for peace.
Forgive them…when they do not speak for the victim when another, no longer has a voice.
Forgive them…when hate, becomes a word they use every day.
Forgive them…when violence and death no longer startles them.
Forgive them…when they so quickly, forget.
Forgive me. This I pray…