Today on Monday of Holy Week, as we have done for more years than anyone should have to remember, we will pray for those who have died in our wars at noon today. By name.
We will read the list of those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Holy Week of last year.
It is a very long list.
The list is a compilation of the names we have read each Sunday in our worship services. Each week when I compile the list, I feel a major streak of guilt that we limit the list to Americans. So many thousands, from so many nations, have died in these wars. So many thousands have died in our own country from violence.
We have many people to pray for, and much to be contrite about.
The violence that encircles Holy Week, culminating in the death of Jesus at the hand of the Roman Empire, is not so very far from us. I was much taken with the photograph above that appeared in The New York Times on Sunday. It shows a family in Syria that uses an ancient Roman cave as a bomb shelter to hide from the bombs dropped by aircraft from their own government.
As I write this, it is snowing in Virginia and the roads are clogging up. I am planning to get up before dawn Monday to drive to Washington DC to participate in a "Stations of the Cross" from the White House to Capitol Hill, led by our Episcopal bishops to remember the victims of gun violence in our country.
If the snow plows clear our road, and I can get out, I will be there. Pray for those who are in danger, those in grief, and those who care for them. May you have a blessed and Holy Week.