|from Sunday’s worship service|
It’s hard to believe a week has passed since we woke up to the terrible news from Las Vegas. I do not know anyone personally who was there, but a friend’s family lost a cousin (a father of three young children). It seems that Las Vegas is a lot closer to Atlanta than I ever imagined. While much of my weekend was spent with knitting and Netflix (arguably two of the very best means for healing I know), I also had three specific experiences that I wanted to share with y’all.
My small group gathered Friday morning to continue our Book of Joy discussion. This week’s chapters were about Forgiveness and Gratitude. tough topics, especially in today’s context. But we all agreed what we’ve read has helped our reactions and responses.
The Dalai Lama makes a distinction between the person and their action:
“This is where the power of forgiveness lies — not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness.”
The Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers this:
“When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings.”
Saturday morning, I found these words in my inbox (the Plough‘s Daily Dig)
…deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well”, as if he said, “Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time you will truly see it in the fullness of joy.”
— Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
And finally, our worship service yesterday centered around the shooting. There were 58 roses on the communion table and one more, with a broken stem, by the baptismal font. We read responsively a Litany for Peace that closed with these lines:
“In the wake of any event that should be impossible to contemplate, but which has become all too common in our experience, open our eyes, break our hearts, and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit, that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace … and terror no longer holds sway over our common life.”
We were invited to take a rose home with us, to pray for lives affected by the loss.
With open eyes and a broken heart, healing begins.