Like many Unitarian Universalists, I went to a candlelight vigil at a local UU congregation this evening to express my sympathy, grief and empathy for the people of the Tennessee Valley UU Church (and some compassion for the shooter).
Safety was a theme at the vigil, how before, we viewed our sanctuary as the safest place, the place where we would be accepted, the place where we could relax. I mean, really relax -- enough to pray, to meditate, to cry, to be vulnerable, knowing the peace of being held by the interdependent web of existence.
Now the web seems to be unravelling. The tragedy occurred in just a few minutes, but now life is forever altered for those grieving and struggling to understand why and how. What about the children who witnessed this violence? How will they make sense of it?
I have so many questions, including: how will this change the way Unitarian Universalists act in the world? As UUs, we're admonished that it is not enough to show up for worship services -- no, we're supposed to be out walking the talk, letting others know where we stand, speaking up for equality and justice. Will we keep doing that, especially those UUs who live in conservative places? Once I heard Rosemany Bray McNatt speak about activism and how some people can be on the front lines, but others cannot. She gave the example of a woman responsible for raising children as someone who cannot afford to be involved in activism that could become threatening.
Except now we know that yesterday morning in Knoxville, being present for a UU service (a children's play, for God's sake) meant being in a life or death situation.
May our faith guide us toward healing as we pray for our fellow UUs,