Bishop John S. Macholz, Upstate NY Synod, ELCA, prays for an end to violence against the LGBTQ community

50? Is that what it’s going to take? Or is it 60 or 75 or 100? When will we take a stand and say no more? No more killing grounded in ignorance! No more hate crimes against our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community! No more deaths because someone’s skin is a different color and her lineage different from ours! No more senseless murders of anyone because they don’t agree with us or look like us or think like us! No more sales of weapons of mass destruction whose sole purpose is mass killing! No more, no more, no more!

It is time to join our voices and say no more, to bring our hearts and lives and intentions to end the killings, to stop the madness and language and actions that divide us and discover a way to create the Beloved Community the King so longed for in his life. It is time to move beyond talking and enter into action grounded in prayer and justice. Join me as we find our way forward to eradicate hate and replace it with “love and love and love and love and love.” We cannot fail. Let us begin with prayer and not stop until equality and acceptance of every single person is a reality in our lives.

As we continue to process the stark realities of the murders in Orlando early Sunday morning I invite you into prayer where, at times like this, it is often difficult to find words. Pray that tolerance might become a given in our world that focuses so much on differences as opposed to all that we have in common. Pray that hearts filled with anger and hatred might be changed by the power of the love of our God and our actions. Pray for all those who mourn the loss of loved ones and friends. Pray for those who seek healing and renewed life. Pray for us, that we might find our voices united in support and love for all who are marginalized and persecuted and bring about reconciliation in our time. Pray, and then act.

When voices are filled with racist remarks and slurs, call them to confession. When names and labels are tossed about freely and recklessly in hatred and ignorance, remind them that we are all sisters and brothers. When truth needs to be spoken to power, be bold and courageous. We can do no less if we hope to change this world and its realities.

May the Spirit grant us the courage and strength we need as together we work to find our way forward in hope and the promise that is ours in Christ Jesus. It is he who makes all things new and walks beside us each step of the way.

In Christ’s Love,
John S. Macholz, Bishop