Yesterday we did what we know too well how to do now, insert silence and prayers for victims of gun tragedies into the Sunday service. My colleague did it with sensitivity and care.
I expect that when we do that it’s to speak to the shock and anger we’re all feeling after reading about it and watching nonstop news coverage. But some people in worship may be experiencing the tragedy directly. Yesterday a worshiper approached me after the service to thank us because she’s from Dayton, and, had she been home this weekend, she and her friends would have been right where the shooting took place. Her friends were there the previous evening. She was shaken, and I told her I was glad she was among us for worship, especially on this day.
It’s just a reminder the my assumptions about how people are affected by these events are often flawed. Mass shootings are multiplying in such a way that every new one not only traumatizes new victims in different communities but also reanimates trauma in all the other places that have been victimized. There is no immunity anymore.
It seems we need to lead worship now with that assumption.