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  • Writer's picturePelham Road Baptist Church

Orange Ribbons

by John Roy

We put this orange ribbon out at the entrance of our church property after a shooting. For us it is reminder that we need to stand with the broken-hearted. To our community it says, “God Weeps.”

God weeps today.

A mass shooting is defined as the killing of three or more people in a short period of time. Several years ago we started putting this orange ribbon out each time there was a news making shooting event.

We struggled with when to put the ribbon out. If we used the definition of mass shooting, it would be out 365 days a year in America. So, we debated, what was the criteria for displaying the orange ribbon? A school shooting? More than 10? A shooting in a church, Synagogue, or Mosque?

We ended up concluding that if the event made the news or happened in South Carolina we would put it up.

The orange ribbon says that gun violence is not the way of the Prince of Peace. It is not a political statement, it says nothing about how to fix the problem, it makes no commentary on guns, it makes no commentary on mental health. It simply says----God weeps.

Determining how long we would keep it up was an easier decision. It would stay up the number of days ---equal to the number of deaths. Ten deaths, Ten days.

In 2012 at Sandy Hook 20 children and 6 adults were shot.

June 17, 2015 at Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston 9 were shot and killed.

In 2018 at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh 11 were killed.

In 2019 in El Paso, Texas 23 were killed.

On May 14, 2022 10 were shot in Buffalo in a grocery store.

On May 24, 2022 19 children and 2 adults were shot in a school in Texas.

On May 15th we put the ribbon up, our plans were to take it down May 25, then we learned these precious children and beautiful adults were killed. So it remains up, until June 14th.

Jesus once said that “some things only come out with prayer and fasting.” The best interpretation of this is that some things only change with prayer and effort.

It takes courage to do both.

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