The National Association of Evangelicals is calling on Christians and churches to pause and lament the death of more than 100,000 Americans from COVID-19 on Pentecost Sunday.
Calling for a moment of silence in churches across the country on Sunday, NAE President Walter Kim quoted Revelation 8 in a video message.
“When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour,” Kim read, explaining that God called for silence so that He could attend to prayers. “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.”
There have been at least 103,781 deaths due to the novel coronavirus and over 1.7 million confirmed cases in the United States, as of early Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
“It’s a reason for us to pause,” Kim said, “to remember the dead, to mourn their passing, and to lament the fact that we have not been able to grieve as we typically would as Christians.”
Faith leaders are also calling for the observance of a National Day of Mourning and Lament at noon on Monday, June 1.
Local leaders will host civic ceremonies, and the call is being supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents 1,400 mayors across the country.
The call is being made by “an unprecedented group of 100+ national faith leaders—from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions representing major denominations, national faith-based organizations, local congregations, and millions of people of faith across the country,” NAE said in a statement.
The National Day of Mourning and Lament will lead up to the NAE’s annual Pray Together Sunday two weeks later, June 14, to honor and mourn those who have passed, according to Kim.
“One hundred thousand people, citizens, friends, and family dead is a terrible marker we must not miss or pass by quickly or easily,” the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners, said. “We must stop. We must weep. We must mourn. We must honor. And we must lament which is to feel and bear great grief and sorrow, and to reflect upon it.”
The Rev. Adam Taylor, executive director of Sojourners, commented, “Every one of the over 100,000 lives in the U.S. lost to COVID-19 is precious and sacred. While the need for social distancing has precluded funerals and other traditional forms of mourning, we can and must find ways to grieve and lament together as a nation. These tragic deaths include so many heroic frontline and essential workers who risked their lives to heal, protect, and serve others.”