Here is what I know. Violence is less likely when people come together to hear each other’s stories, when they do not judge each other, when they do not come together thinking they are more right or better than others. This applies to us every bit as much as it applies to the most rabid fundamentalist.
And I know this too – I love this congregation and it is a good congregation, filled with people with open hearts and open minds. It is a beloved community. When I first came here we experienced a tragedy when one of our teenagers was paralyzed in an accident; we have not turned our back, but have been there for him and his family. This year a teenager died tragically, but we have not turned our back; we are there in support. We have opened our hearts and our to the LGBTQ community and will keep the banner out on Orange Grove until the law changes. We have taken steps to be a green sanctuary, opening our heart to the earth, to be a welcoming congregation, to establish a People of Color group, to fund local non-profits, to have a pastoral care group.
This does not make us better than other congregations, but it does make us good because we are doing what we say we believe. If tragedy struck in our lives, I would want to come here and I do believe that this congregation offers hope in a weary and violent and broken world.
All we have is each other. Nothing else. Whether there is a God or not, I do not know, but God was absent on Friday in Connecticut. We do have each other, that we know. We stand at the Gates of Hope as a colleague once said. It is where we stand when we come together – with the hope that we can make a difference, that together we can help heal the world, that we might make for more peace, that we can hope the future is better, that the children will be well. We can stand at the gates of hope and welcome others to stand with us, that we can open those gates and walk in, together hand in hand, all God’s children as King said.
And we might then be able to say “The children are well. Yes, the children are well.”
All our prayers, our thoughts, our love goes to our brothers and our sisters in Connecticut.