“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.”
-From the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis  

Once again, there has been another school shooting in our country. 
More violence.  More senseless deaths. 
Another community facing multiple funerals to honor their loved ones.
Many students, teachers, administrators, and staff who survived will be left traumatized. 
This time at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.   

In the years of my ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ, I have preached
512 sermons.
I can read what I preached at Pilgrim Church after Newtown.
Or look over the prayer vigil I organized with my clergy colleagues in the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. 
I can read what I preached here at Colchester Federated Church after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

This week, and as Holy Week looms, it feels awful to think that nothing has changed.

From my sermon preached at CFC on February 18, 2018:
“These children of God had parents, friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, doctors, and pastors who loved them and will miss them every day from here on out. 
They are not nameless unidentified victims of gun violence. 
The fact that we see so many mass shootings in places like Newtown and San Bernardino and Orlando and Las Vegas and Parkland and may be tempted to normalize this violence, or numb ourselves so that we don’t have to think about mass shootings, shows how lost our society has become.”   

Sunday is Palm Sunday and an intergenerational worship service. 
I try to be especially careful when talking about potentially sensitive topics, so the latest school shooting won’t be the subject of my sermon. 
To attempt to protect the youngest members of our church family, in a world full of heartache and violence. 

And maybe, because I don’t have the right words.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 

Pastor Lauren 

Photo by Rev. Lauren L. Ostrout.