By Rev. Andrea Goodman, President, Interfaith Peace Project
On Friday, December 14, 2012, we awoke with plans for the day and then we heard the terrible news at Sandy Hook Elementary School. How could it be that someone would kill so many children – not teenagers, though that would be tragic – but children five and six years old? Unspeakable. Teachers who put the children in their care above their own lives. Remarkable.
One of the purposes of The Interfaith Peace Project is to promote peace. At this time we are particularly mindful of the collective grief we all feel for the lives in Newtown cut short that day. How then shall we respond? Will these precious children give us strength and courage to act upon this call?
Some say this tragedy has brought the nation to a tipping point, that we have an opportunity to come to our senses after so many acts of violence with military assault weapons. Some say put more weapons in the hands of teachers and employers and movie goers. Some say the problem is people with mental illness who have access to guns.
How then shall we respond? Already people are turning in guns; guns bought in fear but now handed over in declarations of peace. Others are signing petitions, contacting congress people, praying for peace, gathering to commemorate the Newtown fallen.
How then shall I respond? Committing to a spiritual peace practice may be one response. Perhaps we could vow to end the cycle of violence by becoming aware of our own violent actions and speech toward ourselves, toward our loved ones, toward our community, and toward those we regard as Other, even Adam Lanza.
Imagine a world where the innocent Newtown children spark in us the prayer, “May I be an instrument of peace.”