Two weeks ago on Youth Sunday, in setting up the powerful message that high school senior Maddie Filmer preached, Aaron highlighted the importance of seeing our youth as leaders now, not just in the future. (If you missed it, go here to see the video.) Over the last week, we have seen poignant examples of teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School taking on leadership now. I was moved by the focus, poise, courage, and determination that a number of them displayed last night in the nationally-televised town hall conversation with elected officials. I was also impressed by the seriousness and respect with which each of those officials listened and responded to those teenagers.
Last weekend in worship, we spent time in prayer remembering the 17 deceased persons from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings. We also made available copies of the resolution, "Our Call to End Gun Violence," that was approved at the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. These were two of the recommendations from our Florida Conference Bishop Ken Carter for actions to be taken by local congregations. Today I want to share with you a third recommendation.
Bishop Carter has asked us to imagine what impact we might have as a church if 5,000 letters from United Methodists across our Florida Conference were sent to elected officials, expressing our concern and challenging them to take action. To learn more about this particular initiative, go to 5000letters.com.
This Sunday, there will be a table set up where we will be collecting letters to send from our congregation. If you would like to participate, you can bring one already prepared with you and submit it. For help with writing a letter, go here. There will also be sample letters available at the table for you to see and then write one of your own.
A few weeks ago, we all read the Prayer of St. Francis together in worship, reciting "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." This action is a way for you to be that instrument. It occurs to me that it is also one way we can stand alongside the brave students from Parkland and their families as they channel their grief into positive action.