The Shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Sunday, August 5

I received this from a colleague in ministry. She has ties to the Sikh community and elected officials in Oak Creek and shared this statement with me. It says a great deal about the Sikh community.

The Sikh community asks Oak Creek officials to pass along this message:

  • If you wish to donate food, please donate to your local food pantry.
  • If you wish to send flowers, please send them to your own local place of worship or your local Sikh temple.
  • If you are moved to volunteer, please donate your time and talent in your own community.
  • We encourage you to honor the victims by volunteering in your own place of worship or your local Sikh Temple.

Someone shared an insight with me following this very senseless tragedy. She was reflecting on the seeming power of hatred and violence in our midst and she had a moment of insight. She realized that, in different ways, through her own sins, brokenness and lack of tolerance, she has added to the hatred and bitterness that is in the world. She has made monumental changes in her life, and she is not so naïve as to believe that somehow she shares in responsibility. But, she does understand that each of us has fundamental decisions to make about how we live, what we value and what we gives ourselves to…

For this person, this was a moment of humble recognition of the power of God’s love to save, redeem and make whole that which is evil, sinful and an affront to decency, integrity and justice. I recommend we give focus to the response of the Sikh community following the shooting and dwell less on the fact that a very sick and disturbed person could commit such a crime. To be sure, those with mental illness in our midst need help and treatment. We need to work for a society where that is the case all of the time, but the response of the community that saw loved ones massacred can teach us so very much. May we learn from their example.

Love and forgiveness triumph over evil and hatred every time. During Holy Week, we never celebrate Good Friday and then stop. Easter Sunday follows the cross and tomb every time.

May the souls of those killed rest in peace. May their loved ones and fellow parishioners know grace, comfort and healing.

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