Dear Parishioners and Friends,
The recent weeks have been a real emotional rollercoaster for me, and maybe for you, too. Though these things are sadly becoming commonplace, the news of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was troubling, to put it mildly. The thought of people being gunned down in a place where they should be able to feel completely safe is unconscionable. And to add insult to injury, the killing took place in Mr. Rogers' actual neighborhood. His home was blocks from the synagogue. We at St. Mary's stand in absolute opposition to such hateful acts, and hold the Tree of Life community in our sincere prayers. We also want to reiterate in these troubled times that St. Mary's is the community church. Whether you worship with us regularly or not, whether you are a Christian or not, we want you to know that in the words of Mr. Rogers, "We like you just the way you are." We are all part of one community, and God (by whatever name you call him) is glorified when we show love for one another, just as he loves us.
In our own community, we have been asked to pray for Gregg Carder, who was involved in an automobile accident in Tuxedo Park this week. Gregg is currently in intensive care at Good Samaritan Hospital, and Fr. Cromey and I have both been there to offer the rites of the Church. Gregg's family asks for, and appreciates your continued support and prayers at this difficult time.
On a personal note, you may know that my own father died unexpectedly at his home in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Pete and I very much appreciate all of the kind messages, phone calls, and cards.
So yes, this has been an extra heavy week for many of us. At times like this, I turn to one of the joys of my life for solace--my garden. It just so happens that I received a large order of spring bulbs today, and I was able to spend the last few hours of this beautiful day putting some of them into the ground just at the foot of Fox Hill on the rectory grounds. As I placed daffodils, cyclamen, trout lilies, and jack-in-the-pulpit bulbs and tubers in the cool soil, I meditated on the brevity of life on this earth, but also on the promise of resurrection and new life, which my sleepy bulbs represent to me. When spring comes, they will be a joyful reminder that those we love but see no more have gone on to something more beautiful and perfect than we could ever imagine. The pain of grief never really goes away. In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, "Grief is the price we pay for love." If we are to be fully human, we must love, and if we love, we must grieve. Let us use our grief then, to lead a more examined life. Mindful of our time on earth, let us find peace for ourselves by reaching out and gladdening the hearts of others. In the words of the Psalmist: Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. (Ps 90)