“When someone you love dies, you never quite get over it. You just slowly learn how to go on without them, but always keeping them tucked safely in your heart.” (Quotegram.com) When an event as horrific as the Orlando genocide happens, we immediately focus on cause, blame and question. I’m thinking that each victim has grieving relatives and friends. The loss is even greater than reported. “No man is an island…” wrote John Donne. :-( Jack
FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: My heart is heavy.====JACK: You remember, don't you? ====MARY: every day. mostly i can call upon all the comfort and joy of holding people in my heart. some days i feel it too heavy to bear....and...my heart is with the loved ones of those gone. i choose not to be tempted to live in the fear that is suggested by the media and some political figures. it only grows contempt.====JACK: In Sunday School I learned this song. "I will not be afraid;
I will not be afraid; I will look upward, And travel onward, And not be afraid.
He says He will be with me; He says He will be with me;
He goes before me, And is beside me, So I’m not afraid."
FROM RI IN BOSTON: It's true, when a loved one dies we find the way to carry on without them, while we continue to remain emotionally connected to them. With a natural death we are somewhat prepared to accept their gradual departure from our lives, whereas the sudden and brutal nature of the deaths in Orlando hits hard in the hearts of those who loved the victims. It's such a sad way for all those relationships to end.====JACK: The unexpected is not easy, as when gladness is suddenly turned into sadness. Our faith tells us that, ultimately, sadness will be turned into gladness...and, so, we wait.
FROM SHARIN' SHARON: I was at the Motor City Pridefest yesterday, helping at a booth with my Presbyterian friends. One of them is a lesbian woman who came from a conservative evangelical background--"love the sinner, hate the sin" was what she heard as she was maturing into a young woman. She had a long and arduous struggle as she grew up and finally came to terms with her sexual orientation. Yesterday as she was passing out buttons, bumper stickers and literature, so many times as she was conversing with people she was assuring each one that God also loves the "homophobe". Her testimony is that she could only get to this place of peace in her life is because of her faith in Christ Jesus. What happens with these hate crimes is that they draw a lot of revenge and retaliation and copy catting, etc., etc., etc. but it is the people (in my opinion anyway) GLBT and straight who can get to this place of loving the "homophobes" who are going to help peace and justice for everyone to come about in our country.====JACK: The the hungry, those in nursing homes... and now at the Pridefest...you are there! Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me."
FROM TARMART REV: Very true . . . hearts are hurting . . . a radical realization and expression is at the forefront of America . . . this one cannot be fixed I don't believe by legislation, as it is a matter of the heart of a nation.====JACK: The 10 Commandments are not effective laws until we choose to obey them.
FROM CS IN RO: Thanks for your words this morning. I feel such sorrow for Orlando and for the gay community and for America.====JACK: The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35..."Jesus wept." Google shows many art renderings of Jesus weeping...as he might be doing, even now. ====CS: Thanks . Yes he expressed the most human emotions. We all can feel the grief of parents and loved ones
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: It's chilling! What horrible thing! We just can't imagine the suffering of the victims and of the loved ones! Yet, we immediately start hearing about the heroes and how they put their own lives in danger to try to help.====JACK: Somehow, the heroes always seem to appear. There are many good people out there willing to step in and help, regardless...
FROM DR JUDY: Well done Jack! Supporting the grievers. Don't just focus on blame, etc. Very sad in our country right now. Too much hate!====JACK: Every tragedy has a sub-plot.====JUDY: Well put!! (Might that be a newsletter quote sometime in the future?)====JACK: I hadn't really thought of it that way. But as Paul Harvey would say, there's a "rest of the story." The Sandy Hook families are still living their tragedy.
FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA: how true, how true.====JACK: The survivors go on, but never really forget. Such is the relationship between loved ones.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: Having so recently lost my beloved 2nd son, I relate to these WW words in depth; And how appropriate for this sad and heartbreaking Monday!! Not knowing the victims and families personally, we can only lift them in supporting prayer. Sarah and I both have dear gay friends who are bright, creative, intelligent people. As you have said many times in WW, once we get to know different people, we love and accept them. Certainly God loves unconditionally! When will we ever learn??!====JACK: How about the Tweet from the Texas Lt Governor, quoting the Bible verse, "You reap what you sow?" Where was the sympathy? the humanity?
FROM RS IN TEXAS: Yes - prayers for the families and friends...........and that we will recognize this as someone radicalized by Satan, and not respond with hate towards Muslims as a group. Prayers for love, peace, understanding and reconciliation.====JACK: Some people are turned off by religion (Muslim, Christian, whatever) completely, believing that if God "allows" such killings, they want nothing to do with him. There's so much misunderstanding out there.====RS: I agree. If there's anything "good" that comes out of events like this, it's the banding together of people in support of the victims - here in the Dallas area a Muslim woman supporting the gay community here on Facebook because the gay community rallied around her when there was a backlash against Muslims a few months ago. And the support in London and Paris for Orlando.
FROM FM IN WISCONSIN: Jack, we have had a series of deaths in the last three weeks, Pr. Ellsworth Freyer, Pr. Charles Ruehle, Jane Barsch, the wife of Pr. Jim Barsch and then this morning, Pr. Dick Warber. They are in our minds and in our memories! Thanks for the hope we have in Jesus Christ, our risen Savior.====JACK: During our ministry, you and I have conducted many, many funerals. Should we not expect that someday one would be conducted for us? I would not be surprised if you have "a plan" for yours. Not too many laypersons do.
FROM BRIAN WILLIAMS (United Methodist Pastor): It took me a day to reflect on the events of Saturday night to consider what I wanted to say, but I kept coming back to the statement members of my tradition make when somebody joins the congregation. As the pastor, I ask, "Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?" and they respond affirmatively. Usually, it's just a matter of thinking about such things in a vague, generalized way, but on Saturday night we saw evil in an all too real form. And we're responsible as a society for resisting the hatred and oppression and evil that led this man to commit such a heinous act. But then in our liturgy, it continues on with the congregation saying: "We will surround this person with a community of love and forgiveness." There's a time to resist evil and there's a time to surround hurting people with a community of love. And this is one of those times. I hope and pray that the victims who survived and that the friends and families of those who did not have just such a community of love that is caring for them during their time of need. And I hope we, regardless of our place in the religious and civic landscape of West Bloomfield, are doing all we can to ensure this is a community of love and forgiveness as well.
FROM JB AT LSTC: There are not enough tears As I look at the faces of the victims of the Orlando shooting, there are not enough tears to grieve the loss. My heart is broken, as it was nearly a year ago when hatred lashed out in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, SC. I ask unanswerable questions: Why? When will the killing end? Then I ask "Where is God in this?" And I find the compassionate heart of God in the lines of people waiting to donate blood. In the crowds showing up to volunteer. In the prayers and words of comfort that may not be spoken in the name of Christ but surely are the heart of Christ. As members of a Reconciling in Christ community, gifted by the gifts of so many LGBTQ colleagues, alumni, seminarians, now is a good time for us to renew our commitment to organize, advocate, and embody the full acceptance and participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and continue to strive to dismantle oppression and injustice.
As a community with longstanding and deep relationships with our Muslim brothers and sisters, it is also a time for us to make sure that they are not demonized by the actions of one person who claims Islam as his religion. This Thursday at noon, the LSTC community will gather to remember the 49 brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, mothers and father who were killed. We will pray for their families and friends. We will pray for the injured and all those caring for them, and for Orlando and so many other communities still healing after acts of violence. We will pray that the LGBTQ community may feel safe wherever they live and work and love. We will pray for our church, that through our witness to the Gospel we may be a source of reconciliation and peace in this troubled world.