From the Prophet Isaiah:

Surely your waste and your desolate places
and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children born in the time of your bereavement
will yet say in your hearing:
“The place is too crowded for me;
make room for me to settle.”
Then you will say in your heart,
“Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
exiled and put away—
so who has reared these?
I was left all alone—
where then have these come from?”

(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Isaiah 49:19-21 (NRSV) – December 28, 2012.)
Holy Innocents IconToday is the Feast of the Holy Innocents and the Daily Office Lectionary again chooses lessons that underscore the day’s commemoration. In the midst of Christmas joy, we are reminded of the little children killed by Herod’s soldiers in the king’s attempt to do away with a perceived rival. I am not the first nor the only preacher or pastor to have thought of this story when, two weeks ago, gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The wanton murder of children at any time makes the country where it occurs desolate and devastated. So today, again, we pray for the repose of the souls of those who died:

Charlotte Bacon, 6;
Daniel Barden, 7;
Olivia Engel, 6;
Josephine Gay, 7;
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6;
Dylan Hockley, 6;
Madeline F. Hsu, 6;
Catherine V Hubbard, 6;
Chase Kowalski, 7;
Jesse Lewis, 6;
James Mattioli, 6;
Grace McDonnell, 7;
Emile Parker, 6;
Jack Pinto, 6;
Noah Pozner, 6;
Caroline Previdi, 6;
Jessica Rekos, 6;
Avielle Richman, 6;
Benjamin Wheeler, 6;
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

Rachel Davino, 29;
Dawn Hocksprung, 47;
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Lauren Russeau, 30;
Mary Sherlach, 56;
Victoria Soto, 27;

And, of course, also Nancy Lanza and Adam Lanza.

We pray for their souls, for comfort for their survivors, and for sanity in our land.

I just watched a public service announcement about our need for rational and reasonable regulation of gun and ammunition sales, gun ownership, and gun use. It includes the tag line, “We are better than this.” I pray God that the makers of the PSA are right, that we are better than this. We have to be. There are too many innocents dead.


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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.