Transcript of Cathedral of Hope’s Pulse commemoration:

So, today we are joining with 449 churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of religious affiliation as we ring the bells 49 times across our nation and across our world to remember the 49 lives of those who were viciously taken in the Pulse Orlando attack just two years ago. 

And we remember every year, because here in the United States of America, the attacks on those who are different, those who are “other”, those who are marginalized and oppressed have only increased in the last two years and not decreased. 

We are living in an era of discrimination and prejudice, of racism, sexism that is unprecedented. So, these bells ring 49 times, yes for the lives of those that we lost in Orlando and for those who continue to be lost by religious hatred, and violence, and discrimination. And we remember the names. We think of the names. 

Here at the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ, we vow to continue to speak those names and to speak our truth to power: to confront the religious bigotry, the evangelical, conservative religious language, that speaks its hate into our world, rather than the gospel of Jesus, which only speaks love. 

So, hear these bells. And as they toll, recommit yourself, recommit yourself, to the fact that we will never forget and that we will stand together because we are stronger when we stand together. We believe that love always wins. 

So, to the religious discrimination in our country and to those who continue to speak hate from their pulpits, who continue to exclude some either because they Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer, or because they are people of color, because somehow, we believe that some lives don’t matter: in this case, Latino queer lives. We say to the church, it’s time to repent. Take responsibility for the hate that continues to be spoken as we reclaim the gospel of Jesus who calls us to the three great loves: to love God, to love your neighbor, and while you are at it, to love yourself. These are the religious values that the United Church of Christ, the Cathedral of Hope, and people of good conscious will speak this day as we remember them.

Let us pray. 
Almighty and everlasting God. God of many names and names yet to be come known. The God of the 49 who lost their lives in Orlando just two years ago. We ask God that you would call us, those who have been left behind with a passion for justice, a passion to speak words of love and grace and truth. Call out the religious hypocrisy to allow the lives of these 49 who were taken far too young, far too innocently, to stir us into action. 

We acknowledge, God, the racism, the homophobia, the xenophobia, that exists in our country and the increases in violent acts against marginalized peoples in these last two years. We ask, Oh God, that you would stir us up, cause us to be beacons of change of light and to proclaim the three great loves, that love of God, love of neighbor whoever they are and, as Bishop Curry reminded us just recently of the Episcopal church, while we are at it, to consider what it might be to love ourselves. 

We pray God that those who have lost their lives will rest in peace and that their peace will not be our peace, but that our peace would only come when this earth looks more like your heaven. 

To the honor and glory of the one that we call God and in whose name we pray and proclaim that love will always win. 

— David Taffet