"Four pillar candles of loss are lit, each to the chiming of a singing bowl..."
Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo
Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts
August 3, 2008
Four pillar candles of loss are lit, each to the chiming of a singing bowl. These words are said as the candles are lit:
This first candle for those who were killed—Greg McKendry & Linda Kraeger.
The second candle is for those injured, most from the same family as they gathered for the production: Joe Barnhart, Jack Barnhart, Betty Barnhart, Linda Chavez, John Worth Jr., Tammy Sommers, and Allison Lee.
The third for all those who have been lost to crimes of hate, for this crime is not new, nor is it contained to our southern states
The fourth candle is for all those who have been lost to domestic violence, for there are many.
A choice could be to continue this tolling for the many wounds we do not see. Once more for each child present that day, another for their friends and family not present but worlds shaken by the event, another for those who see violence unanswered on playgrounds, in their homes or schools, on TV—fictional or real, in video games. We might ring it yet again for those who knew Jim David Adkisson, the man so lost he chose violence to others over a request for help. We might ring it for him. We might ring it again for our own loss of innocence or a reminder of when that innocence was lost. But friends, we have another choice. A choice our faith calls us to make each time we enter this sanctuary. A choice made this Sunday morning by congregants in Knoxville. Let our choice be our faith, freely given and received. Let our choice be our hands, reaching out to each other and to the stranger. Let our choice be the stark acknowledgment that this too... this too, is our world, our reality and we remain in solidarity with all those who speak out for diversity, for embracing difference, for equal rights for all, for care for all—especially those in most need, that our faith will not be deterred by assaults or by sadness. Let our choice be welcome & courage, a better tomorrow... together. Let our choice be love.