Lament and Mourn 100,000
On Monday, June 1st, Gordon-Conwell will be coming together with faith communities across the United States to mourn those who have died from COVID- 19 and to pray for the healing of our nation. We invite you to join us in dedicating June 1st for praying and fasting.
As the official statement of Lament and Mourn 100,000 states: “Our nation will soon pass a grievous point in history: 100,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19. As people of faith, we cannot allow this grim number to go unnoticed. Always and everywhere, it is the duty of religious communities to remember the dead and mourn their passing. From generation to generation, we have been given this task: to speak their names and honor their lives. One hundred thousand dead Americans from COVID-19 shall not pass by unmarked and unlamented.
It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of deaths in so short a time. The past three months have been some of the deadliest months in US history, and Americans have endured more deaths than those who died in many of our wars, as we have just memorialized last weekend. At 100,000 deaths COVID-19 becomes the fifth most deadly event in US history. The numbers of deceased are the equivalent of whole towns and cities. The pandemic now ranks among those moments in the life of our nation that are marked by national remembrances, somber memorials, and moving tributes. As people of faith, we cannot let this moment pass unnoticed. The nation must be given the chance to mourn, lament, and remember the dead.
The rapid spread of the disease, the scope of its impact, and the mitigation through “social distancing” has prevented the time or space for us to grieve. It has been impossible to bury our dead as people have for thousands of years—communally and intimately with friends, family, and neighbors. As religious leaders, we are deeply connected with our nation’s pain. Both as individuals and collectively as a nation, we need time to stop, reflect, pray, mourn, and honor the dead…
…We will ask God to help heal our land with a moment of mourning and honoring those many who have died, often without their loved ones around them. We come together both to weep and to rejoice for those lives which have been lost. We shall mourn the loss of so many humble Americans and ordinary citizens, known only to families and friends, coworkers and neighbors. We will mourn family members and friends whom we loved; worked and worshipped with; ate, played, and prayed with; important members of our communities, some who were on the front lines of caring for and serving others; and those we passed on the street with a smile and nod. By God’s grace, we will mourn with families who have not been able to memorialize, mourn, or properly bury their COVID dead.
Our lament will also honor hard truths we have learned during this pandemic: our suffering has been unequal, elders have been vulnerable and alone, black and brown neighbors have borne disproportionately both the brunt of sickness and death and having been drafted to the frontlines of fighting this disease. Native communities, our lands original caretakers, have been particularly hard hit—as they have been so many times in the past. Asian Americans have been targeted by hateful words and actions. Our prayers for the healing of the nation must acknowledge the brokenness of our democracy and rededicate ourselves to repair the injustices this pandemic has revealed, even as work for the healing of those who are afflicted with the virus.”