All day long, my Facebook page has been awash with the words, "Love Wins", as folks record their joy in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that no one can be denied the right to marry on the basis of gender orientation. Marriage is now equally available to all. Love did, indeed, win today.
Yet another thread is also running through this day. A thread of mourning. Today, the Rev. Clementa Pickney was buried in Charleston, South Carolina. As you well know he, along with eight other people, was shot to death at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Shot by a young man who, on his Facebook page, ranted against African Americans and posted images not of love but of hate.
And yet the people of Emanuel AME Church are not letting hate have the last word. At the arraignment of Dylan Roof, the accused killer, the granddaughter of one of the people killed said, "We are here to combat hate-filled actions with love-filled actions...."
Perhaps that is our call in Christ--a call to love-filled actions that help to heal our broken world. Actions so particular, so concrete that they change a person's way of thinking or being or living. Particular responses to particular situations. Not just walking away from a racist or sexist or homophobic comment or joke, but stopping the conversation and saying why. Or looking at the world around us and asking "why"--why are their more black men who have been imprisoned in our country than who have graduated from high school? Why do African American men suffer from a disproportionately high rate of heart disease? Why do we not have an acronym DWW (Driving While White?)
Howard Thurman, a mystical theologian and a pastor to one of the first (he would likely claim "the first") racially, ethnically and economically diverse congregations in the United States often noted how important community was in bridging gaps that often divide. Indeed, Thurman once said that "Contact without community breeds contempt but that contact through fellowship builds community." Live at Five offers such a community. Every Sunday.
This Sunday, we will hold our monthly potluck following our worship service. Our new rector, Father Joe Britton, will be preaching at Five and joining us for the potluck afterwards. Come along and build community through food and fellowship. Share your stories of love-filled actions as we celebrate Love winning once again.
In gratitude for all of you and for our life together,