Beloved Brookmeade Community:
Last Sunday, as I got ready to go to the park for our Nature Sunday worship and picnic, I got some snippet about yet another mass shooting. I confess that my first response was a weary relief that it “might be” “only” 20 people. I assumed that the location — a gay night club — identified a random place, not a hate-filled motive. I didn’t want to know more, not while I was getting ready for church.
I was busy and distracted. My mind was on us here and not on them there.
Together in the park, as we became more aware of the beauty of God’s natural creation, we heard more current news about that horrific human-wrought devastation. The number of deaths was estimated closer to 50.
Last Sunday, we celebrated the wonders of creation and we enjoyed the privilege and joy of gathering in safety and in peace. We sang, we prayed, we told stories, and we ate good food around the table together. Getting closer to God in nature last Sunday may have been the best possible preparation for responding to unbridled violence, to enacted hate, to horrific perversion of God’s intention for life.
This Sunday, we will gather again, this time shaken by a horrific hate crime and saddened by 49 young LGBTQIA lives taken. We will have opportunity to lament and to hug. We will receive God’s good gifts of community worship and beloved friends. We will give thanks for sanctuary, our “all are welcome” gathering space created by a Brookmeade congregation who declared itself 22 years ago to be an “Open and Affirming” congregation of the United Church of Christ.
Today, more than ever, our hurting and fearful world longs for Brookmeade’s bold witness of justice, peace and extravagant welcome. Every time we gather, we bear witness that all are welcome here. Here, we feast on love — God’s love and our love for each other. Equipped by love-actions and love-words, we go into the world to be ambassadors of hope and peace.
What we do as a congregation matters!
Let us keep on being a radical incubator of love and justice together.
See you Sunday!
[My article for today’s Brookmeade’s Weekend Email]