Category Archives: January 8 Tucson

Stop

Stop

 

Stop responding with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

For soon this nation will be blind and unable to eat.

Quit assessing strangers solely as danger

Instead of future friends.

Stop judging men with dark skin exclusively as threats

Instead of God’s beloved.

Resist inhaling fear and exhaling anger

Instead of marveling with reverence at creation.

Avoid the notion that people are terrorists

Simply because their religious beliefs and practices

Are different from yours.

Relinquish the opinion that anyone ever deserves a bullet

Because they do not fit your theology, philosophy

Or what is known and comfortable to you.

Cease making loaded weapons accessible

To children and hotheads

For tragedy often follows.

Stop allowing individuals with violent track records

Or mental instability

Possession of Uzis, glocks and the like

For tragedy often follows.

Release the perception that a gun under pillow

Equals safety

Ignoring the multitude of family members

Who have accidentally been shot by a loved one.

Do not encourage weapons as play

Then be surprised when someone’s game of life is over.

 

Must our citizens don some shade of orange wherever they go

Wearing the established message of hunters,

“I’m here. Don’t shoot me”?

Will we continue to wring our hands,

Fall on our knees in prayer

With each new story of death by gun?

Or will we acknowledge the death toll far too massive,

Resolving to vote, converse, march, write,

Preach, advocate, educate and

Participate in any peaceful measure to

Stop gun violence?

 

©February 23, 2016  Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk,

Gun Violence Survivor

To use this or any writing by Cynthia Langston Kirk, please include the copyright and Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk’s full name in your bulletin and/or screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one-time worship or one-time retreat/small group, please contact Cynthia at calkirk@aol.com.

Wearing Orange

Bishop orange stole 1 (1)

 

 

Orange may seem like a strange color this time of year. Your home may be sparkling with red and green, blue and silver or just the colors of your daily life.

 

As the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre approaches, many people across our nation will wear orange as they walk for Gun Violence Prevention this Sunday. They will wear orange because it was a color chosen by teens in Chicago to honor their friend Hadiya Pendleton, the color that hunters wear to send the message “I’m here. Don’t shoot me”.

I’ve read, prayed, listened, pondered, researched and still my heart aches. Most of us, on both sides of the gun conversation, feel desperate and fearful, two emotions that rarely lead to wise actions or grace-filled living.

I come at life from a Christian perspective, but know that most other religions share the same  reverence for life that Christ manifests. Religions are not our problem. It is individuals or groups using their particular view of religion or God as a shield, as a divisive lens, as a justification for beliefs, rhetoric or action that would cause harm to anyone else.

As a mother, grandmother, godmother, wife, friend, minister, gun violence survivor, I cannot be quiet in the face of violence and discrimination. I cannot be silent when people continue to be gunned down in their homes or any public place imaginable. I cannot refrain from writing or speaking when a group, any marginalized group, is threatened because they are likened to extremists or because they do not fit the norm or the known. I cannot be quiet while people incite others to take up their guns and commit murder.

It’s easy to feel that we are each trying to empty the ocean with our own little teaspoon. It is easy to feel paralyzed, but inaction is not effective for change. Talk to someone who believes differently than you. Call your elected officials. Vote. Educate yourself and others.

One little thing I am doing with my teaspoon is making orange stoles for at least ten clergy. He or she can wear the stole on Gun Violence Awareness Day June 2nd.  She or he can wear the stole on any Sunday to lift up awareness and encourage action. Each of the stoles is a simple orange stole with a little triangle of green to represent hope.

The first orange stole I made was for Bishop Robert Hoshibata, our resident bishop in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bishop Bob (pictured) has taken a strong stance on gun violence prevention and is imploring every congregation in our conference to engage in education about the issues.

I will be glad when we no longer need wear orange and work for gun violence prevention. Until then, I’ll keep speaking out, praying, writing, voting, trying to have conversations and buying orange fabric.

December 11, 2015 Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

Poem for January 7, 2012 Sunrise Service at TMC Labyrinth

 A year after the shooting spree that killed five beloved people, wounded several more and left us grieving and grasping for hope, the city of Tucson came together on Jan. 7th for times of commemorating, celebrating, and committing to life, health and community.  It began at sunrise at the TMC Labyrinth at Peppi’s House. The mother drum called us together, constantly beating the pulse of life and invitation. Singing bowls sang the dawn of a new day. Rev. Amy Barron-Gafford, TMC Hospice Chaplain, welcomed people bundled in coats and blankets and read the poem (see below) at intervals during the dancing. Men and women dressed in white with sashes of color danced hope, perserverance, beauty, gratitude, joy and the strength of community.  Those who gathered before the sun rose over the Rincons (including Pam Simon, Gabby’s staffer who was shot and her daughter Summer) entered the beat with egg shakers, shaking them to the pulse, double time, triple time or however the spirit led. Three speakers, including Ross Zimmermann (Gabe’s dad) and Ron Barber, one of Gabby’s staff members who was shot last January, gave voice to commemorate, celebrate and commit. Later, Sinde Rubiner, facilitator of the artists, led us in creating a symphony with colorful  boom whackers. Each section of people had a different color, a different rhythm to maintain, reminding us all of the mulititude of gifts we bring to our beloved community and one another.

May we remember that each day is a gift from the Holy One to be shared and treasured, to be lived with passion and purpose.

Embrace Life

  

Listen

As heart speaks to heart

Calling us to live fully

Calling us to the center:

The rich, fertile place   

Of reflection and renewal,

Of being filled with purpose and passion.

 

Come

Shed the hold of grief, anger, apathy

Pray gratitude each step of the journey

Remembering the ones who alter our souls in beautiful ways.

 

Receive

The fresh breath of hope

Wisdom’s guiding power

Voice and abilities unique to you

And the gift of community.

 

Commit 

Renewed energies to heal this hurting world.

Walk, run, share, pray, teach, advocate

Embrace the giving path.

 

 ©December 5, 2011  Cynthia Langston Kirk

For January 7, 2012 Beyond Event

Service of Cleansing and Healing

Font with recycled glass bowl that held the water
Font with recycled glass bowl that held the water

At noon on Thursday January 20, 2011, a Service of Cleansing and Healing took place in front of Safeway at Ina and Oracle in Tucson, Arizona. This is the site of the January 8th shooting that took the lives of Christina Taylor Green, Federal Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwin Stoddard and wounded 12 more, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Pam Simon and Ron Barber.

A Service of Cleansing and Healing

Reverencing the Space and Blessing the Community

 La Toscana Center

Noon, January 20, 201

CENTERING MUSIC                          Native Flute                                   Larry Redhouse

 WORDS OF GATHERING

 As we select fruit and vegetables for dinner, meet a friend for lunch, purchase flowers for our aunt’s birthday, buy a house, or pick up a prescription for our child, we live out our spiritual journey. It is in the everydayness of our lives – in striving to be an informed citizen or a mentoring friend, in living out our passion to help others and in seeking to learn – that we know more of the Holy One. And more of that Light is witnessed through us.

 Sacred cannot be divided into Sunday or Friday/Saturday and the rest of the week. It cannot be divided strictly by space – sanctuary or shopping center. God is, was and will be in this place. God was and is with us as we grieve. And God is with us today to help us reclaim this space for the good of all.

 We gather today to ask the gracious winds of the Spirit to blow in this place anew. We gather to remember servant hearts and acts of courage and tenderness. May each of us who have been shaken to the core carry with us the deep reminder of how precious and fragile life is. In the midst of these dark days, may we reaffirm our faith in a God of love who knows our grief and comforts our shattered hearts.

 Let us join our hearts, minds and voices to praise God for the beauty that surrounds and sustains us.

 SONG                                                                                  For the Beauty of the Earth              

 1. For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies

    For the love which from our birth over and around us lies

     God of All, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.

 2. For the beauty of each hour, of the day and of the night

    Hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light

    God of All, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.

 3. For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child

    Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild

    God of All, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise

 7. For the strength to live our call, in the face of threat and death

    For the courage to risk all, putting others before self

    God of All, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise

                                                                      Verse 7             ©2011 Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk

 PRAYER                           

 PSALM                               Psalm 107: 1-9           

 WORD ABOUT PRAYER FLAGS

 PRAYER      

 Merciful God, we lay our brothers and sisters who died and those who are wounded before you. We lay those who are isolated by grief and overwhelmed by thoughtless inquiries before you.

 Today we lay La Toscana Center, especially Safeway – the land, the buildings, the people – before you. Pour out your healing on people and place.

 Grace-filled One, we are hungry for each person to think and live reverently. We are thirsty for compassion. Fill us with reverence. Fill us with compassion.

 Help us understand the plight of mental illness in a deeper way and commit our time and resources toward systemic help for those who suffer and their families.

 Holy Healer, in moments when we despair, remind us of your unwavering faithfulness. Remind us that you are our rock and refuge.

 Receive our rawness and our frantic searching to make sense of the senseless. Take our outrage, our pain, our wordless grief and heal us individually and as a community.

 Loving Breath of the Spirit, help us remember the passion for people and the generosity exuded in the lives of the people who were injured or killed on January 8th. May their lives continue to inspire our words and actions.

 Consecrate our tears, our tokens and our expressions of service. Guide us to be beacons of hope from the corner of Ina and Oracle to the four corners of the world. Amen.

 SONG                        “Live in Charity”  (Ubi Caritas)

 Live in charity and steadfast love,

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

A TIME OF REFLECTION

                              Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas  Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño 

A TIME OF SILENCE

BLESSING OVER THE WATER

SPRINKLING THE SPACE

LITURGY OF RECLAMATION AND BLESSING

May the healing waters cleanse and reclaim;

May they renew and bring hope

From the North and the South, from the East and the West,

From all places in this center to every corner of our city

Pour out your mercy

For every store owner and employee

Pour out your mercy

For each neighbor and every visitor

Pour out your mercy

For those who bring food and merchandise to this center

Pour out your mercy

For those who cleaned this space

Pour out your mercy

For those who are consumed by grief or fear

Pour out your mercy

For those around the world who continue to pray for us

Pour out your mercy

For those who seek to live reverently and compassionately, knowing we are all connected

Pour out your mercy

SONG                                                                               Peace is Flowing Like a River

Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out through you and me

Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.

Hope is flowing like a river, flowing out through you and me

Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.

Love is flowing like a river, flowing out through you and me

Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.

BENEDICTION

May the gracious winds of the Spirit blow in this place anew. May peace, hope and love flow from person to person to person. And may the world continue to be transformed by acts of kindness and courage.

SONG                                                                                                Peace is Flowing Like a River

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

PASSING THE PEACE

 

Liturgy and verse 7 of “For the Beauty of the Earth” ©2011 Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk