Madona and ChildOn Ash Wednesday, as we were ushering in the season of lent with the refrain "Remember that you are dust," and contemplating mortality and meaning, seventeen people were murdered at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

Fourteen students and three of their teachers and coaches were killed. They were male and female, Jewish, Protestant, LDS, and Catholic, athletes and musicians and poets. They were children, parents, siblings:

Alyssa, Scott, Martin, Nicholas, Aaron, Jamie, Chris, Luke, Cara, Joaquin, Alaina, Meadow, Helena, Alex, Carmen, Pete.

They were, each one, precious, and beloved beyond compare. 

Immediately afterward, online and across the airwaves, the routine response poured out. Routine! Mass gun violence has become so commonplace that we have developed a routine: condolences, followed by thoughts and prayers, followed by debates about how to respond and about who is offering a solution in good faith and who is trying to "politicize the tragedy."

But now, something new and hopeful is happening. Instead of persisting in the headlines for just a day or two, the story is staying at the top of the news. The students who survived the attack have refused to accept thoughts and prayers without also receiving some action on the part of the adults who are meant to be protecting them. They are using their generation X tech savvy to plan and coordinate a national response. They'll be marching on Washington DC on March 24…

I am so moved by their courage in the face of heartbreak, so heartened by their determination. As we move through lent and come again face to face with the mystery of Easter, let's follow their lead and find ways to speak life and hope into the world. We'll begin gathering to consider the UCC's Faith vs. Fear: A Faith Response to Gun Violence resource (a survey of "best times to meet" will be available at Coffee hour during March). My hope for us is that we'll grow in our understanding of the scope of the problem of gun violence - mass shootings, suicides and the daily gun deaths that are mostly unremarked. And that once we've learned, we will be called together to the action that is right for our congregation.

I am inspired by the young people of Parkland, and every day I am inspired by all of you. It is a rare gift to find a community of such loving people, who carry God's love and light into the world every day, each one in their own way. Let us be glad in our hearts for this place and each other, filled up with the spirit of God's word, and empowered to keep it. 

**For more on the Madonna and Child with Goldfinch, see 

Visit Us!

 4790 SE Logus Road

Milwaukie, Oregon 97222

Map & Directions (click)

Sunday Worship

10:00 am

Contact Us!

 Phone: 503.654.6770

Email: office [at]

Find Us On...