Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas Church—June 16, 2016
As I drove around Clinton this morning I saw several signs on lawns with the words “Proud home of a 2016 ________ graduate.“ The signs were of various colors and type face, sometimes with mylar balloons attached - stars, flowers, “Congratulations Graduate!” This is the season for celebrating accomplishments – graduations, moving on to a new level of education, employment, endeavor. We cheer for them, and we may worry a little bit about them as well – will they be happy... will they be fulfilled... will they be successful...will they be safe...
Early on Sunday morning I heard a brief news account of a shooting in Orlando, Florida, with the possibility of casualties. I said a quick prayer, and headed off to church. It was a big day for St Thomas Church – outdoor service, recognition of graduates, church school teachers, choir – many moving parts. Then there was the parish picnic – great food, great company. It was a glorious day.
It was not until I returned home that I learned of the horrible massacre that had occurred in Orlando – the slaughter of 49 innocent people, and the ultimate death of the gunman. Of course, we turn first to prayer. As usual. One more time, for one more group of victims, this time mostly LGBT folks, mostly Latino, gathered at a nightclub where they thought they were safe, with friends, celebrating, sharing life and joy. Names, faces, stories... One more Moment of Silence... Then outcries of “how long?” and so much more. How long, indeed.
Then what? Accounts are being shared of all manner of kindnesses for families and loved ones of victim – free flights, help with funeral arrangements, so many kindnesses in these days of grief and loss. Then what?
We do what we can. Certainly, we pray. And then we do our best to work for peace in our homes, in our lives, in our country, in our places of work and daily connection with the world. There are no easy answers – except, of course, the words of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.” That simple, that complicated, one little bit at a time....
Let us pray:
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Holy God, you have made us members of one body, connected like muscle and bone. If one suffers, we all suffer. We pray to you in common grief for the tragedy in Orlando, and for the seemingly relentless reality of gun violence. We seek to transform the world by doing what Jesus taught us: welcoming the stranger, loving our enemy, and working for justice. Through sacrament, song, and friendship, may your Spirit bind our broken hearts, and send us out with renewed dreams of a better day. This we ask in the name of the Holy Trinity, one God. Amen.
Peace and blessing, Carol+
Just a reminder: Summer worship schedule begins this coming Sunday, June 19: one service at 9:00am, with hymns and other music. Family or friends visiting for the weekend? Invite them to join you for worship at St Thomas!