Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Yesterday I was sitting on the front porch of the rectory enjoying the weather while working on something on my iPad. A notification appeared at the top of the screen from the New York Times app: "14 Children Dead in Texas Shooting." My heart sank. Not again.
The news has become all the more tragic, as the death toll has risen to 19 school children and two teachers. The shooter also shot his grandmother before heading to the school.
That this sort of thing has become so common--there have been more mass shootings than days so far in 2022--is our national disgrace. One of my high school classmates posted on her Facebook feed a sobering list of schools where shootings have taken place. The list is long and includes two schools, Northern Arizona University and Marjorie Stoneman Douglass, where Pete and I had family members working at the time. It is personal for us, and should be for all Americans as well.
Violence is nothing new. The Bible is full of it. However, for those of us who grew up in a different time, it is hard not to perceive the spiritual cancer that has been growing and has metastasized into an unspeakable evil. There is a deep sense of sadness in our country--an entire generation of young adults have grown up with active shooter drills in their schools. "Thoughts and prayers" seem empty to many.
During the gospel reading at today's midweek service, I was reminded of St. Paul's words in his first letter to the Corinthians (5:6-8): A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
As Christians, we must not give up hope. We know that our ancient foe's "craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal." Still we have love, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling, whose power working through us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. So, keep these innocents in your prayers, keep the faith, and keep on loving.