At 11 am we stopped.
President Obama had asked that our nation take a moment of silence at 11 am to remember the shooting victims in Arizona. Whatever your politics, whatever you do, I hoped you stopped for a moment or two to remember Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the six people who died on Saturday at the hands of a deranged young man.
At St. Paul's, at 11 am, we stopped. When we did, we could hear the bells from across the street at the University of Virginia, the school founded by Thomas Jefferson. I counted the bells peel eleven, and I listened for the silence in between the bells and wondered for whom the bells toll? They toll for our democracy, which seems to have so little hope these days, and to be filled with so much poison in our politics that our nation is having trouble listening to itself let alone to its creator. The gun lobby has our political leaders so intimidated that all discussion of reasonable gun controls is already off the table in Congress.
I must confess my own hope falters.
From where is my hope to come? This morning, in Morning Prayer, we hear from Isaiah 40:25-31:
"He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will feel exhausted, but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint."
And from today's reading from Ephesians 1:15-23:
"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you."
My prayer for our nation and each of us is that we will be renewed and strengthened, our hope restored, and may we all mount up with wings like eagles and do the work we have been given to bring kindness, healing and justice to this world.