“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”┬áLuke 10:27

Dear Friends,

This morning during Wednesday Morning drive by prayers in the chapel, we prayed the prayer for the end of gun violence: “we pray for mothers and fathers who have now lost children, families without a son or a daughter, a parent who now no longer will share life and joy with those whose lives are lost…” Sunday evening in a joyous crowd of some twenty two thousand country music fans, a lone gunman shot and killed fifty-nine people and injured hundreds with an arsenal of firearms. Lives are changed.

Loving Lord, we pray for victims of gun violence.

Upon examination, authorities have learned that Stephen Paddock purchased thirty three of the guns within the last year. Federal Law insists sellers of handguns sold to the same buyer within five business days of one another report said sale. However, there is no federal law requiring sellers to notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives of the sale of multiple rifles. At least twelve of the rifles found among the gunman’s weapons were outfitted with a “bump stock”. This device enables a firearm to deploy hundreds of rounds of ammunition per minute with the speed of a machine gun.

Redeeming God, plant in us a fertile seed of healing love that we will play our part in breaking the cycle of gun violence by possessing the peace that begins within us.

Of the many lives lost, were moms and dads of young children, an off duty police officer, a young woman studying to be a nurse, a Navy veteran having served in Afghanistan, an attorney, a small business owner, every day people going about their every day lives, happy to be in Las Vegas for a little fun.

Lord God, heal broken hearts; mend those suffering from those loved and now lost.

Currently before our elected officials in Congress is legislation intended to ease firearms restrictions, including the use of silencers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines mass shootings as the killing of three or more people in a public place at one time. As of October 2 The United States has fallen to more than 270 mass shootings. What are we called to do?

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury pardon; where there is discord, union…where there is darkness, light…

Today is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who at a young age changed his life of prosperity and privilege, taking on the suffering of Christ and a vow of poverty. He embraced joy and peace and a true love of God’s creation which led to his dedication to all living creatures. St. Francis is known to have sung his prayers in tune with the birds of the air. He’s popularly known as the patron saint of animals. We give thanks and remember the life and ministry of St. Francis as we gather for the Blessing of the Animals this Sunday October 8th at 5:30 p.m. All are invited to bring their pets, their photos of their pets, their stuffed animals to be blessed as God’s most holy creatures.

When we juxtapose the peaceful evangelizing of St. Francis with the violence of Sunday’s Las Vegas horror, we’re called to closely examine how God is calling us to changed lives.

Grant that we may not so much be understood and to understand…

This week, a group of more than seventy Bishops with the Episcopal Church published a statement calling us into action: Even as we hold our lawmakers accountable, though, we must acknowledge that a comprehensive solution to gun violence, whether it comes in the form of mass shootings, street violence, domestic violence or suicide, will not simply be a matter of changing laws, but of changing lives. Our country is feasting on anger that fuels rage, alienation and loneliness. From the White House to the halls of Congress to our own towns and perhaps at our own tables, we nurse grudges and resentments rather than cultivating the respect, concern and affection that each of us owes to the other. The leaders who should be speaking to us of reconciliation and the justice that must precede it too often instead stoke flames of division and mistrust. We must, as a nation, embrace prayerful resistance before our worse impulses consume us.

Stir up in our hearts a renewed sense of reverence for all life.

Pray for our country. Pray for our enemies. Pray for peace at the last.