A few words of reflection
Since we won’t meet this Wednesday because of VBS, and I will be out of town this Sunday, I wanted to take a minute to share with you some of what I’ve been reflecting upon in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando over these last few days. I've already heard from many of you, and so I hope we continue reaching out to each other.
Like many of you, I first learned of the brutal mass shooting not long before worship Sunday morning. At the time, details were still coming in and the death toll was said to be 20. We lifted up the victims in the pastoral prayer, and asked that God’s peace might surround them and their families.
As we now know, the death toll would soon climb to 50, making it the largest mass shooting in our nation’s modern history. It also seems clear that the victims were targeted because of their sexuality and gender identity, adding another level of hate to an unspeakable crime. This is close to us. Like so many, I count members of the LGBT community as family, friends and fellow pilgrims on this Christian journey. I have made an effort to reach out and let them know of my grief and support. I know that others have done the same.
And so, as has happened far too frequently, we must once again summon the courage to let our faith guide us in reflecting upon and responding to the darkness we see in the world.
My great hope for us in the days ahead as a congregation, and for all people of faith, is that what we say and do will be worthy of our calling. That we will be voices of peace, compassion, generosity, hope and love. That we will shine the light of Christ to a world in need of it, and that we will keep our eyes open for signs of this same light being shined back at us, often from unexpected places.
We often say that church is not a place where we come to escape the world around us, but where we come to learn how to live more faithfully within it. As it happened, the focus of worship this past Sunday was on the Lord’s Supper, and how when we gather around Christ’s table we are given a foretaste of the world to come:
When all divisions and fear and violence will cease.
When God will wipe tears from faces and death will be no more.
When all people will finally see each other as God sees us: as beloved children, face to face.
The mystery of our faith—and in this I find great hope and courage—is that as often as we do these things, the world to come is already here.
May it be so.
And may it be so in us.
As always, my door is open.