We cannot pause and rest on the mountain. It is time to come down and prepare for MCREST, which is JULY 3 – 10. Everyone’s help is needed to volunteer during McRest, provide food and other materials (see the Needs Board in the Gathering Space) and pray for our guests. This is a wonderful opportunity for us, as a parish, to practice many of the corporal works of mercy: feeding the hungry, providing drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the stranger. We need assistance in all categories (see elsewhere in “The Flame.”) Overnight supervision, set-up and take down are always crucial. Even if you can only give a small amount of time it all goes along way when we work together. Thanks.
Coming together for events like Summer Circle and McRest is a great response to the tragedy in Orlando. Political leaders debate the issue of guns and their availability. That debate has value and should occur, but it pertains to externals. This violence, be it Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, Nickel Mine or Columbine, comes from a deeper place: our hearts, our attitudes and our speech. Timothy Merrill, the Executive Editor of Homiletics, reminds us that we are not powerless in the wake of this violence. He writes: WE CAN AGREE, CAN WE NOT. . .
• that violence as a means of venting frustration is wrong.
• that verbal violence sets a bad example.
• that incivility and lack of respect for people different from ourselves -- whether because of political affiliation, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, religion, handicap -- often leads to abuse.
• that posting and reposting an ad hominem attack on a political candidate is hurtful.
• that hate is a negative and harmful emotion.
• that we can live as people of peace, renouncing verbal and physical violence.
• that proactively initiating an act of kindness to someone who's radically different from us will bless both the giver and the receiver.
• that Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:43-45a, NRSV).
CAN WE ALSO AGREE...
• to stop posting or uttering hateful, demeaning things, things that ridicule, that belittle?
• to monitor our thoughts, speech and conversations?
• to let God be the judge of other people and stop presuming we know the mind and heart of God?
• to work together with people who may hold opinions and positions quite different from our own?
• that at times it might be necessary to compromise for the greater good?
• that the world, that earthly life, will never perfectly fit into our vision of the "peaceable" kingdom?
• that our congregation should seek creative ways to assist victims of hatred or abuse, or participate with and support those who help these victims?
In short each one of us must work on ourself to insure that we are a person who radiates peace, seeks to understand, and avoids words of harsh judgment. As the old bumper sticker reads, “Humankind: be both.