I spent this afternoon at my Church, Holy Innocents Episcopal, Atlanta. The occasion was a special requiem mass for children who had died from violence in the past year n the state of Georgia. Now, if you look at the normal church calendar, the feast day for the Holy Innocents is December 26. An afterthought in the revelry over the birth of the Christ Child. And so easy to forget all those who Herod slew in the futile attempt to suppress his possible competition. But rules and dates are made to be broken, so the decision was made to hold the Requiem thirty days later. So, we may not forget.
Over the last twenty four hours, 464 names were said. In the four years the service has been held, more than 2400 bells tolled. For some, it is the only remembrance of their short time. In others, families still hold memories dear to their hearts, wondering how this could happen? Couldn't there have been a way to intervene? Did they have to cross paths with robbers? Where were the CPS workers? Was there a Judge who misread a situation? Couldn't it have been stopped?
All those are good questions. But all the answers start, like most things, with each of us looking in the mirror. Are we treating those around us with kindness and respect? Or is it with wrath and hate and competition? We can go to another and say you are doing this and that wrong, and have it just thrown totally back in our face. Such is the way of judgement. No one likes a hypocrite.
But we must try. Each of these lives is a gift from God. We can do no less.