Sunday, March 25, 2018

That's So Pittsburgh: Voices Raised Together

Isaiah 11:6 "...and a little child shall lead them."

Saturday, tens of thousands of us gathered in downtown Pittsburgh to rally for better gun control. It paralleled the March for Our Lives happening at the same time in Washington, D.C. We marched through the streets carrying signs and shouting slogans. Local high school students led us to Market Square, where there were speeches from politicians, teenagers, and family members of persons killed by guns. The organizers had expected 3,000 people, but news outlets estimated 30,000 activists, teachers, and families showed up to encourage each other and to make a statement with their bodies and their voices.

Here are some of the signs Dear Husband and I saw and the slogans we heard: Arms are for hugging. Tell me what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like. No more silence, end gun violence. Am I next? Vote them out! I thought you were pro-life. Dodge ball not dodge bullets. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Guns are not school supplies. We stand with Parkland. Make our schools safe again. Make Assault Guns Abolished. "There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children." ~Kofi Annan

"All Glory Laud and Honor"
All glory, laud, and honor
to you, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
You are the King of Israel
and David's royal Son,
now in the Lord's name coming,
the King and Blessed One.

Sunday was Palm/Passion Sunday, when we remembered Jesus' triumphal entrance into Jerusalem at the end of his ministry and beginning of Holy Week. Although ours did not, many churches stage processions of palms (led) by the children of the Sunday School​. They are supposed to demonstrate the faith like a child. We held palms and sang "All Glory, Laud, and Honor," whose chorus impressed me today in a way I hadn't noticed before: "to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring." I couldn't help but compare the clogged streets yesterday with the throngs who are said to have greeted the Messiah. We waved paper and cardboard signs, they had palm fronds and cloaks. We shouted, "No more silence"; they cried, "Hosanna!" and "Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!" Both were seeking to change society: the one for less violence in homes and schools, the other for a violent rebellion against the Roman empire. We now know that the Son of God and the Son of Man--against all expectations--suffered at the hands of the oppressor and rose again to new life. It was an entirely different revolution than what had been anticipated. Maybe when we pray today for an end to mass shootings, the answer will be different than what we had expected, too:

The sign reads: "What if these kids are the answer to your thoughts & prayers? Are you listening??"
(We did not see this sign at our march, but it has been making the rounds on the interwebs.
This image from the Democratic Underground.)

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