Red-letter words for dark days

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. — Matthew 5:4

I’ve been reading through the red-letter words of the Bible this morning and listening to a filibuster in the U.S. senate chambers on gun-reform laws. Less than a year ago, I wrote a similar post for a similar reason: a gunman went into a sanctuary and killed minorities he hated. I am heartsick to be here again with another list of names.

I had planned a very different post today, but it will wait. Life and death interrupt us all in ways we never anticipate, in events that horrify us and cause us to pause. Some days, “business as usual” just feels wrong.

Today, I share the same picture as last year and a different, too-long list.


Last year’s nine candles. Today, 49 more names.

While I hope our country’s politicians will work together to make necessary changes, my true hope is not in them but in the speaker of the Bible’s red-letter words.

Jesus spoke words of love and comfort and mercy. He wept with those who mourned. He challenged and chastised those whose hunger to hold on to their positions of power caused them to pervert God’s laws. He told us that the greatest laws were to love God and to love one another.

Jesus refused to ignore his society’s marginalized populations: lepers, the mentally ill, fallen women, social outcasts. He acknowledged them, befriended them, ministered to them. He forever changed their lives.

Forty-nine of God’s children died in the Orlando night club shooting. I lift them up here:

  • Akyra Murray (age 18)
  • Jason Benjamin Josaphat (19)
  • Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo (20)
  • Cory James Connell (21)
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez (21)
  • Luis Vielma (22)
  • Juan Ramon Guerrero (22)
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz (22)
  • Stanley Almodovar III (23)
  • Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega (24)
  • Christopher Sanfeliz (24)
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan (24)
  • Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez (25)
  • Enrique L. Rios (25)
  • Amanda Alvear (25)
  • Juan Chavez-Martinez (25)
  • Anthony Luis Laureano Disla (25)
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez (25)
  • Tevin Eugene Crosby (25)
  • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez (25)
  • Oscar Aracena (26)
  • Mercedez Marisol Flores (26)
  • Frankie Hernandez (27)
  • Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez (27)
  • Angel Luis Candelario-Padro (28)
  • Antonio Davon Brown (29)
  • Darryl Roman Burt II (29)
  • Eddie Jamoldroy Justice (30)
  • Miguel Angel Honorato (30)
  • Jerald Arthur Wright (31)
  • Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez (31)
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua (31)
  • Deonka Deidra Drayton (32)
  • Christopher Andrew Leinonen (32)
  • Martin Benitez Torres (33)
  • Shane Evan Tomlinson (33)
  • Rodolfo Ayala (33)
  • Edward Sotomayor, Jr. (34)
  • Jean Carlos Mendez Perez (35)
  • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado (35)
  • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera (36)
  • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon (37)
  • Kimberly “K-J” Morris (37)
  • Juan Rivera Velazquez (37)
  • Luis Daniel Conde (39)
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes (40)
  • Paul Terrell Henry (41)
  • Brenda Lee Marquez McCool (49)
  • Franky Jimmy De Jesus Velazquez (50)

I pray for God’s peace for them and for the promised comfort for their friends and family who mourn their loss. In a very different way, I pray for our politicians and our country. And I’m clinging to Jesus’ red-letter words spoken for us all.

Jesus came as the conquering Light. May that Light shine brightest in dark days such as these.


2 thoughts on “Red-letter words for dark days

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