Dear St Thomas Family,
This has been such a sad week for our world. As I have read through so many descriptions of the terror in Orlando and the responses of those who are outraged saddened and discouraged, I find my own soul weary from the knowledge that hate still has such power in our world, in our communities, even in our church.
Almost a year ago we all celebrated the Supreme Court decision that we never thought would come. We all rallied around the cry that “Love Wins.” I know many of us wonder this week if that is really true. So many times we walk by faith and not by sight so I want to encourage all of us to continue our walk in faith in the midst of sorrow, to honor our grief, to express our anger but to not let it stop there or immobilize us. Let our sense of outrage move us forward in the work for justice and peace, to not only pray the prayer “thy kingdom come” but to live it. I believe we can do this when we remember that our Lord even in the midst of opposition and discouragement continued to do the work He was called to do. He proclaimed to the disciples that they would do even greater works than He would, and they did. The Acts of the Apostles recounts how the fledgling church went beyond their limited understanding of how expansive God’s love and intention was. Led by God’s Spirit, and fueled by God’s grace, they were able to do infinitely more than they could ask or even imagine. They opened wide their minds and hearts and as a result, more and more people came to know the love of Christ. As we follow in their example this is how Love wins.
Even while I say that we walk by faith and not by sight, the paradox is, I see glimpses of God’s kingdom even if the midst of this loss. There is a line from one of our burial anthems that says “In the midst of life we are in death” but I also see that in the midst of death we are in life, as individuals and communities come together to reach out to those who are hurting, as you all engage with open hearts and hands, with creativity and passion, not only to respond to those who are hurting this week but to those in our neighborhood, the wider Dallas community and the world who struggle. You do this through your outreach efforts, through your individual kindnesses and your willingness to live in hope and walk in faith, as you live “thy kingdom come.” I am so very proud of all of you and your witness in our community. I am honored to stand with you. God’s Spirit will continue to give us what we need in this work.
I go to my hymnal in times like these, Praise the Spirit in Creation, the words of Hymn 507 give us inspiration for the days ahead:
Tell of how the ascended Jesus armed a people for his own,
How a hundred men and women turned the known world upside down
To its dark and furthest corners by the wind of heaven blown.
Pray we then O Lord the Spirit on our lives descend in might
Let your flame break out within us, fire our hearts and clear our sight
Till white hot in your possession we too set the world alight.
Let us set the world alight with our love. Let us live “thy kingdom come”