The prophet Isaiah envisioned a day when, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”
In recent days, we’ve been inspired by the leadership of the young. We’ve seen more leadership coming out of Parkland, Florida, in the last few weeks than we’ve seen coming out of Washington in years.
Where elders have been cautious, the young have been brave.
Where elders have been silent, the young are speaking out.
Where the elders are sitting still, the young are walking out.
Where elders have been evasive, the young have been clear.
Where elders have been bought and paid for, the young have reminded us we still live in a free country.
We may not be able to agree on everything but surely we can agree that thoughts and prayers are not enough. Faith without works is dead.
On Sunday February 25th our congregation, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, held a vigil for the 17 students, teachers and staff killed at the Stoneman Douglass High School and for victims of gun violence all over the country who do not garner so much publicity. For the most part our speakers were young including child survivors of the shooting in our church on July 27, 2008, who are now teens and young adults.
We heard from close friends and mentors of Zaevion Dobson, an innocent victim and hero gunned down in a drive by shooting. We heard from activists in the Black Lives Matter movement and grassroots neighborhood activists trying to save lives. After the vigil there was much organizing for action, , signing petitions, sending postcards planning school walk outs and recruiting for the March for Our Lives in Washington DC on March 24.
I will leave you with some thoughts from Jennifer Kitts, a child survivor of the TVUUC church shooting who is now a young adult serving overseas in the Peace Corp “This time feels different. It didn’t at first but as the days passed and the debate became more thoughtful instead of the same re-used arguments I felt my spirit become energized. I watched as thousands of high schoolers dominated the most distractible news outlets for a week and a half. I have seen even the slimiest of politicians begin to lose their grip on the gun lobbies ‘sacred’ agenda. That is something. And most importantly, I have seen parents, teachers, survivors of so many previous tragedies come together to support each other and push forward for change. I see their strength and I feel their energy from 5,000 miles away. I never want to see another human being suffer the way I and so many others have. We must ban the gun that has been used in the 7 deadliest mass shootings in resent memory. The AR 15 has no place in the Unites States of America. I have to believe that this time is different, because it has to be.”
(Below are some links you can click on in order to see and listen to the young speak out.)