Thursday, February 22, 2018

Prayer Vigils

Yesterday was the one week anniversary of the mass slaughter at our local high school.  I went to two vigils.  I didn't go to the one that's making the headlines, the one broadcast on CNN.  I'll be honest--to go to that one would have required that I get tickets (free but thinking ahead required), driven across the county, and stayed up very late, the real deterrent to me.

I've seen and heard bits of it, and to be honest, I'm glad I didn't go.  I wanted something more contemplative.  I wanted candles and spirituals.  I wanted psalms and prayers. 

So when a group from my church organized a group to go to a prayer vigil, I joined up.  We headed over to the city center at Pembroke Pines, where the local governing happens.

There was a strong police presence, and I heard one of the officers say, "We've just done a sweep.  We're clear."

The above picture gives you a sense of the type of gathering it was:  no candles, no spirituals.  We very properly had 3 religious leaders give a prayer:  Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, and I couldn't help but notice that we didn't have a female prayer presence.  Then each member of the City Commission spoke, along with a school board member.  They said very similar things, about how horrible it all was.

When it was over, we decided to head to a vigil at the Pembroke Pines Elementary School.  The principal of the school had a daughter who was killed at the high school; yesterday would have been her birthday.  This vigil was more what I was hoping for, even though it was too windy to light our candles.  Instead, we held up cell phones:

I was struck by all the children who attended.  I'm sure the older ones had a sense of why we were there.  I wonder what the littlest ones will remember.

I am feeling more certain that we are at a hinge point, the way that the Civil Rights Movement changed our politics.  This generation of students will make a change, even if the current crop of politicians can't seem to find their way.  This kind of event will radicalize many of them, and I predict that our culture will change in ways we can't foresee right now.

Here's a black and white photo that my pastor took.  It gives a sense of the size of the group gathered at the tiny elementary school.  It gives a sense of how we're hovering at this hinge of history:

Photo by Keith Spencer

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Thank for sharing these thoughts and pictures of the lights.