June 13, 2016
Dear St. James Family,
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston,Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, unfortunately this is not a complete list of the violence done by us to us in this country, let alone around the world. As we watch the events unfold in Orlando and we try to make sense of a person choosing to kill others because they are in some way different, we are left numb. We are made up of so many beautiful differences, each of us unique unto ourselves and at the same time, sharing a common bond as members of the wonderful human race. But unfortunately at times those differences cause rage, that bond is severed, and we are left with violence. Where does it end? Where do we find answers? How do we work towards, strive for the Kingdom of God?
I said to someone yesterday as the details of what happened were emerging in Orlando, that as we recall the list above and the many victims of these atrocities, as we think of all the violence and rage and hatred perpetrated over the last number of years, we need to be mindful that there is good in this world. There is good in the human race, in each of us. We know this because we are made in the image of God. What God makes is always good, unfortunately at times we use what God has made, we use ourselves to distort that image. Many of us are familiar with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, a man who lived through one of the worse atrocities in human history. A question he is often asked, usually by children is, how can you have faith in God after what you went through? He answers, “There are all the reasons in the world for me to give up on God. I have the same reasons to give up on man, and on culture and on education. And yet … I don’t give up on humanity, I don’t give up on culture, I don’t give up . . .”
In all the violence we see happening around us we cannot give up. There are many right now in Orlando and around the world, something I noticed vividly while in Sandy Hook in 2012, working to help and support those enduring this tragedy first hand, and in turn helping all of us make it through another dark time in our nation. Out of tragedy we always can find, we always can see the goodness of humanity, which shows us the goodness of God present with us in these tragedies. The Kingdom of God is light in our world. Sometimes that light seems faint, but it continuously burns, it continuously burns within each of us because it is part of us and it is through us that that light can burn brighter and stronger within this world, shedding the bright beam of hope, hope in God’s wonderful creation, humanity.
Let us mourn the victims of Sunday’s tragedy, let us shed our tears, let our hearts break, but let us quell our anger, our thoughts of revenge and let us not give up, let us continue the mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to this world, a world in such desperate need of it. Let us remember that the Kingdom of God is present within us and spreads through us. Let us remember that we are good, God is good, God who never gave up on us and sent Jesus Christ to us. Let us not give up and continue working for that day where God wipes away every tear from our eyes. The only way violence and hatred can be conquered is by the goodness of God, a goodness found within each of us.
Please know all of you and those you love are in my prayers this day and everyday.
Yours in Christ,