Struggling for justice and mercy is not easy. Kelly Renee Gissendaner, who was executed in Georgia despite a plea for mercy from Pope Francis, sang “Amazing Grace” until she was given a lethal injection. She was put to death at 12:21 a.m. Wednesday after a flurry of last-minute appeals failed, the first women to be executed in Georgia in seventy years.
This blog will neither affirm nor condemn the death penalty. Rather, it will mark this execution for its historical, moral, ethical and spiritual significance. For after seventy years, it is a significant event.
Like thousands of others, I kept vigil in my home last night, praying, waiting for word, and hoping that Georgia’s Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court or a federal appeals court would affirm requests for a stay of execution.
Jeff Hullinger, a journalist with NBC station WXIA who witnessed the execution, later told reporters that Gissendaner appeared “very, very emotional.” He added: “She was crying and then she was sobbing and then broke into song as well as into a number of apologies … When she was not singing, she was praying.”
Thousands pleaded for mercy. Others called for justice. In times like these, we must hope that justice and mercy is always a struggle for our nation and for us, as individuals.
“…whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8
“. . . Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering . . . and all for your love’s sake. Amen.” ~ From the Book of Common Prayer
May each of us find comfort in listening to the hymn, “Amazing Grace” on YouTube.