Shield the Joyous (or Why I March)

It’s almost midnight and I should be asleep.  In just a few hours, I have to get up and board a Rally Bus that will take me into the heart of Washington, D.C. where I will join tens? hundreds? of thousands of others gathering for the March for Our Lives.  Even though I should go to bed, I know I won’t be able to sleep.  I am a ball of excited and nervous energy as I mentally and emotionally prepare to add my voice and my feet to the movement to end gun violence.

As I prayed Compline tonight, I caught myself on the prayer that lends its name to this blog.  As I prayed for God to shield the joyous, I realized that is why I am marching tomorrow.  I am marching in the hope that no child (or any person) experiences gun violence ever again.  I am marching so that families and friends will no longer have to bury victims of senseless tragedies like Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Great Mills.  I am marching so that all of God’s children may grow and flourish.  I am marching because I know people personally affected by these tragedies and I want to shield any and everyone from the pain I have witnessed.  I am not so naïve as to think that one march will solve everything but, as we raise our voices to say that the systems around us are broken, it is my deep hope that we are building a movement that will enact real change in our nation’s policies around gun ownership.

It is not lost on me that March for Our Lives is the day before Holy Week begins.  Over the next week, the Church will remember Jesus’s procession into Jerusalem where he would spend the last week of his life speaking out against the powers and principalities of this world, cleansing the temple, railing against the scribes, and teaching parables that subverted the systems of power in place around him; we will remember Jesus’s death at the hands of an empire threatened by his radical message of love; and we will celebrate Jesus defeating death and rising to new life.

Tomorrow we will join in our own procession, a procession that seeks to subvert damaging systems of power in our own time, and we will rail against those who have enacted laws that have perpetuated the destruction of God’s children.  Amidst the death and pain and destruction that has brought us to this place, there is also hope for the future.  Easter is coming.

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