By Kim Naten
It’s Friday morning . . . and while the calendar says “late Spring” the sky reflects anything but that. It is gray, chilly, momentarily dry, and an accurate reflection of my mood. This has been a tough week. Or rather, a tough several weeks. Buffalo, Laguna Woods, now Uvalde. On top of ongoing concern, sadness and rage over the war in Ukraine, the continued erosion of human rights, and on and on . . .
Often, I turn to our musical scriptures for comfort, for the words to express all those emotions bubbling to the surface. This week was no exception, and I found many that seemed to accurately reflect my grief, my anxiety, my plea for God to hear our voices, to DO something, to heal us. When I opened my daily Sojourners Verse & Voice email, however, I found the words that felt right. It spoke the words which I’d been trying to formulate without rage and anger, but with a reminder to myself, to those of us in Community of Christ, of who we are called to be. Because honestly, most of the words and feelings I’ve had this week have been, let’s say, less than “Christlike.”
As I read and reread these lyrics, my heart started to lift . . . just a wee bit. I hope it lifts yours as well. As per the annotation at the end, feel free to use this in your worship gatherings. Perhaps it will bring a glimmer of hope to you and others during these dark days as we struggle to understand a broken world, and our call to aid in its healing.
A HYMN FOR PEOPLE CALLED TO DO MORE THAN SING AND PRAY
God, Our Nation Feels the Loss
PILOT 18.104.22.168.7 (“Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”)
God, our nation feels the loss
as our children pay the cost
for the violence we accept,
for the silence we have kept.
Rachel weeps for children gone;
God of love, this can’t go on!
Jesus, Lord, we hear you say,
“Don’t turn little ones away!”
May we build a kinder land
where our children understand:
Every child here matters more
than the guns we clamor for.
Holy Spirit, wind and flame,
send us out in Jesus’ name.
May we shout and say, “Enough!”
May we build a world of love —
till the sounds of weapons cease,
till our young can grow in peace.
Tune: John Edgar Gould, 1871. Text: Copyright © 2022 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Permission is given for free use of this hymn for churches and ecumenical services.
Author’s Note: See the reference to the Slaughter of the Innocents: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18). This hymn was written in remembrance of the beloved children of God who died in the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Many of us, as individuals, do not accept violence, keep silence, or clamor for guns. Yet, as a nation, we do these things, and as a nation, we need to repent; we need to turn around and live a different way. All of us are called to do more than sing and pray; please work for gun safety laws in your community and state.