Lighting Candles, Speaking Names

On Friday night at our Community Meal, we lit candles for and spoke the names of every one of the 23 people who have lost their lives to gun violence in Oakland this summer. Then we took home the news stories recounting the murders of the neighbors whose names we each spoke. Why? 

We did it to remind us that we do not do Night Walks to make ourselves feel like good people. We do not support Ceasefire because its inspirational. We do it because beloved sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers are losing their lives to gun violence about once every three days in the Town this summer. So we read their names. We read the tragic and horrific details of their passing. And we honored their lives and what they brought into the world.

We embrace the pain because our comfort is not found in our capacity to hide from the wounds of the tragic present. It is grounded in God's promise of a just and peaceful future when, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." (Isaiah 2:4)

So, as Isaiah says, "Come...let us walk in the light of the Lord."