This morning I woke to news that 49 people have been killed and 29 more wounded in a coordinated attack by a gun man in two mosques in New Zealand. This story hit me on so many levels and raised so many questions.
Why would anyone attack people at prayer?
How do we have so much hatred in our world?
How do we ever build ties of mutual respect in a world where people are growing used to hate crimes?
How long must we tolerate so much gun violence on this earth?
Most of us feel helpless in the face of so much violence. We feel confused by forces that seem beyond our control. On top of that many of us who love the church feel frustrated by the simultaneous loss of faith in our institutions, particularly our churches. We feel discouraged when disturbing hate crimes are fueled by racial, ethnic or religious bigotry.
But this is no time to feel defeated, It is time to find our strength. Let us not be confused about one things we hold dear: Love is more powerful than fear or hatred. The Bible teaches in so many elegant and original stories that love has power. It teaches that bullies don’t win, in the end. It teaches that we can all find the power to stand up to hatred. It teaches us that we all have the power to make a difference.
This is not the time to be confused about what to do. This is not the time to look longing to the past that never was as good as we imagined, anyway. This is not the time to grow discouraged about the shrinking size of our churches.This is precisely the time when we need our communities of faith. We especially need churches that welcome all people intentionally as children of God. We need churches that proudly stand for openness and affirmation of everyone. That is the antidote to the poison of hatred. That is the only thing that will turn the tide of despair.
I worry that we are getting used to hate speech. I worry we are getting used to cynicism in high places. I worry that we are growing accustomed to examples of escalating violence. I worry that good people are becoming numb.
We have a chance every Sunday morning to see the world through a different lens - the lens of scripture. We have a chance to expand our vision of how things could be and find our mission as people who call one another to a higher standard. We cannot afford to lose our hope. We need our progressive churches more than ever.
Shalom, Rev. Susan
There will be a training for Open Hands Ministry on March 27th from 1-3 p.m. in the Chapel This is for you if you:
Signed up to be part of Friend to Friend Ministry
Signed up to drive someone to church
Signed up to help with Funeral or Memorial Service Receptions
Missed the original training
Attended the original training and are interested in the next steps
Mark your calendar and join us in the Chapel. Let me know if you cannot attend.
We have lots of envelopes in the hallway for the Lenten Offerings. Please take an envelope home and bring it back on Easter for the Easter Offering.