“Have I lived enough? Have I loved enough? Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusion? Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? Have I endured loneliness with grace?”

- A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

When will it be enough?

Shall we all go on strike? Lie down in the roadways? Send crime scene photos to every legislator? Redirect one percent of our savings to anti-violence organizations? Divest? Hold a weekly vigil to lament each week’s tragedy?

The mass murders are relentless. In just 3 weeks, we’ve been asked to bear the news of ten Black people shot in Buffalo, and on Tuesday, 19 children and 2 teachers shot dead at their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. What insanity grips our nation- the only one in the world- so willing to endlessly and violently sacrifice its children despite the will of 90% of the people?

On Wednesday morning, the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, I had a date to preach at the 8:00 a.m. weekly service at Esperanza Academy, a middle school in Lawrence associated with Grace Episcopal Church. The first words of the priest to the girls that morning were: “I’m sad. We’re sad. You all know about the shooting at a school in Texas.” Some of them nodded their heads. Violence prevention is one of the priorities of the Lawrence clergy.

To be honest, it was good to be in church on Wednesday morning… to hear the middle school girls goof around and sing behind their brightly colored masks, to stand in silence and prayer together, to affirm the sacredness of life. In a revised version of a North Parish sermon, I talked about Queen Esther’s intervention to save many lives. I asked them to say out loud and with gusto, “I am awesomely and wondrously made”- and then to tell that to each other. They were game for that, that room full of beautiful girls and their teachers.

They were my blessing that morning, and enough – more than enough- to send me out again into the day to affirm life in the face of violence and death. This has always been the job of religious people. It is our job to seek, find and amplify a centering love within the maelstrom of life, injustice and our emotions. I am grateful we do this, together.

With compassion for all who suffer,

Rev. Lee