You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘sadness’ category.

 Hallelujah

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Now, maybe there’s a god above,
As for me, all I ever learned from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
But it’s not a cry that you hear tonight,
It’s not some pilgrim claims to have seen the light
No it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Oh, people, I’ve been here before
I know this room and I’ve walked the floor
You see, I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
But this is not some kind of victory march, no
It’s a cold and it’s a very lonely Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below,
But now, now you never ever even show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you,
And the holy dove, she was moving too,
And every single breath that we drew was Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I’ve done my best, I know it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I learned to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come all this way just to fool you
Yeah, even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

 

obama today

President Obama’s Speech From the Dallas Memorial Service
Here are his remarks from the service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center:

OBAMA: Thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. President and Mrs. Bush, my friend the vice president, and Dr. Biden, Mayor Rawlings, Chief Stiller (ph), clergy, members of Congress, Chief Brown. I’m so glad I met Michelle first, because she loves Stevie Wonder.
(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

But most of all, the families and friends and colleagues and fellow officers.

Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see. Right now, those words test us because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering.

We’re here to honor the memory and mourn the loss of five fellow Americans, to grieve with their loved ones, to support this community, and pray for the wounded, and to try and find some meaning amidst our sorrow.

For the men and women who protect and serve the people of Dallas, last Thursday began like any other day. Like most Americans, each day you get up, probably have too quick a breakfast, kiss your family goodbye, and you head to work.

But your work and the work of police officers across the country is like no other. For the moment you put on that uniform, you have answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, may put your life in harm’s way.

OBAMA: Lorne Ahrens, he answered that call. So did his wife, Katrina, not only because she was the spouse of a police officer, but because she’s a detective on the force. They have two kids. Lorne took them fishing. And he used to proudly go to their school in uniform.
On the night before he died, he bought dinner for a homeless man. And the next night, Katrina had to tell their children that their dad was gone. “They don’t get it yet,” their grandma said. “They don’t know what to do quite yet.”

Michael Krol answered that call. His mother said, he knew the dangers of the job, but he never shied away from his duty. He came 1,000 miles from his home state of Michigan to be a cop in Dallas, telling his family, this is something I wanted to do.
And last year, he brought his girlfriend back to Detroit for Thanksgiving. And it was the last time he’d see his family.

Michael Smith answered that call. In the Army, and over almost 30 years working for the Dallas Police Association, which gave him the appropriately named Cop’s Cop Award. A man of deep faith; when he was off duty, he could be found at church or playing softball with his two girls.

Today, his girls have lost their dad, for God has called Michael home.

Patrick Zamarippa, he answered that call. Just 32, a former altar boy who served in the Navy and dreamed of being a cop. He liked to post videos of himself and his kids on social media. On Thursday night, while Patrick went to work, his partner, Christy, posted a photo of her and their daughter at a Texas Rangers game, and tagged the department so that he could see it while on duty.

Brent Thompson answered that call. He served his country as a Marine. And years later, as a contractor, he spent time in some of the most dangerous parts of Iraq and Afghanistan. And then a few years ago, he settled down here in Dallas for a new life of service as a transit cop.

And just about two weeks ago, he married a fellow officer, their whole life together waiting before them.

Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves. They weren’t looking for their names to be up in lights. They’d tell you the pay was decent, but wouldn’t make you rich. They could have told you about the stress and long shifts. And they’d probably agree with Chief Brown when he said that cops don’t expect to hear the words “thank you” very often, especially from those who need them the most.

No. The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules.

Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us. And that’s what these five were doing last Thursday when they were assigned to protect and keep orderly a peaceful protest in response to the killing of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge and Philando Castile of Minnesota.

OBAMA: They were upholding the constitutional rights of this country.

For a while, the protests went on without incident. And despite the fact that police conduct was the subject of the protest, despite the fact that there must have been signs or slogans or chants with which they profoundly disagreed, these men and this department did their jobs like the professionals that they were.

In fact, the police had been part of the protest planning. Dallas P.D. even posted photos on their Twitter feeds of their own officers standing among the protesters. Two officer, black and white, smiled next to a man with a sign that read “no justice, no peace.”

And then around nine o’clock, the gunfire came. Another community torn apart; more hearts broken; more questions about what caused and what might prevent another such tragedy.

I know that Americans are struggling right now with what we’ve witnessed over the past week. First, the shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, the protests. Then the targeting of police by the shooter here, an act not just of demented violence, but of racial hatred.

All of it has left us wounded and angry and hurt. This is — the deepest faultlines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened. And although we know that such divisions are not new, though they’ve surely been worse in even the recent past, that offers us little comfort.

Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged. We wonder if an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience.

We turn on the TV or surf the internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn and people retreat to their respective corners, and politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout. We see all this, and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the center won’t hold and that things might get worse.

I understand. I understand how Americans are feeling. But Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds. (APPLAUSE)

I know we’ll make because of what I’ve experienced in my own life; what I’ve seen of this country and its people, their goodness and decency, as president of the United States. And I know it because of what we’ve seen here in Dallas, how all of you out of great suffering have shown us the meaning of perseverance and character and hope.

OBAMA: When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch and they did not react recklessly. They showed incredible restraint. Helped in some cases by protesters, they evacuated the injured, isolated the shooter, saved more lives than we will ever know.
(APPLAUSE)

We mourn fewer people today because of your brave actions.
(APPLAUSE)

“Everyone was helping each other,” one witness said. And it wasn’t about black or white. Everyone was picking each other up and moving them away.

See, that’s the America I know. The police helped Shetamia Taylor as she was shot trying to shield her four sons. She said she wanted her boys to join her to protest the incidents of black men being killed.

She also said to the Dallas P.D., thank you for being heroes. And today, her 12-year-old son wants to be a cop when he grows up. That’s the America I know.
(APPLAUSE)
n the aftermath of the shooting, we’ve seen Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown, a white man and a black man with different backgrounds, working not just to restore order and support a shaken city, a shaken department, but working together to unify a city with strength and grace and wisdom.
(APPLAUSE)

And in the process, we’ve been reminded that the Dallas Police Department has been at the forefront of improving relations between police and the community.
(APPLAUSE)

The murder rate here has fallen. Complaints of excessive force have been cut by 64 percent. The Dallas Police Department has been doing it the right way.

(APPLAUSE) And so, Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown, on behalf of the American people, thank you for your steady leadership. Thank you for your powerful example. We could not be prouder of you.
(APPLAUSE)

These men, this department, this is the America I know. And today in this audience, I see people who have protested on behalf of criminal justice reform grieving alongside police officers. I see people who mourn for the five officers we lost, but also weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In this audience, I see what’s possible.
(APPLAUSE)

I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment. All deserving equal respect. All children of God. That’s the America I know.

Now, I’m not naive. I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency. I’ve hugged too many families who have lost a loved one to senseless violence. And I’ve seen how a spirit of unity, born of tragedy, can gradually dissipate, overtaken by the return to business as usual, by inertia and old habits and expediency.

OBAMA: I see how easily we slip back into our old notions, because they’re comfortable, we’re used to them. I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been. And so, I’m reminded of a passage in John’s Gospel, “let us love, not with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

If we’re to sustain the unity, we need to get through these difficult times. If we are to honor these five outstanding officers who we lost, then we will need to act on the truths that we know. That’s not easy. It makes us uncomfortable, but we’re going to have to be honest with each other and ourselves.

We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous job fairly and professional. They are deserving of our respect and not our scorn
(APPLAUSE)

When anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be, paints all police as biased, or bigoted, we undermine those officers that we depend on for our safety. And as for those who use rhetoric suggesting harm to police, even if they don’t act on it themselves, well, they not only make the jobs of police officers even more dangerous, but they do a disservice to the very cause of justice that they claim to promote.
(APPLAUSE)

We also know that centuries of racial discrimination, of slavery, and subjugation, and Jim Crow; they didn’t simply vanish with the law against segregation. They didn’t necessarily stop when a Dr. King speech, or when the civil rights act or voting rights act were signed. Race relations have improved dramatically in my lifetime. Those who deny it are dishonoring the struggles that helped us achieve that progress. But we know…
(APPLAUSE)

But America, we know that bias remains. We know it, whether you are black, or white, or Hispanic, or Asian, or native American, or of Middle Eastern descent, we have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point. We’ve heard it at times in our own homes. If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts. We know that. And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s stain. Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune, and that includes our police departments. We know this.

OBAMA: And so when African-Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment, when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently. So that if you’re black, you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested; more likely to get longer sentences; more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime. When mothers and fathers raised their kids right, and have the talk about how to respond if stopped by a police officer — yes, sir; no, sir — but still fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door; still fear that kids being stupid and not quite doing things right might end in tragedy.

When all this takes place, more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid.
(APPLAUSE)

We can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and coworkers and fellow church members, again and again and again, it hurts. Surely we can see that, all of us.

We also know what Chief Brown has said is true, that so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves.
(APPLAUSE)

As a society, we choose to under-invest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.
(APPLAUSE)

We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.
(APPLAUSE)

And then we tell the police, “You’re a social worker; you’re the parent; you’re the teacher; you’re the drug counselor.” We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience; don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind. And then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over.

We know those things to be true. They’ve been true for a long time. We know it. Police, you know it. Protesters, you know it. You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context. These things we know to be true. And if we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.

OBAMA: In the end, it’s not about finding policies that work. It’s about forging consensus and fighting cynicism and finding the will to make change.

Can we do this? Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other? Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us? And it doesn’t make anybody perfectly good or perfectly bad, it just makes us human.

I don’t know. I confess that sometimes I, too, experience doubt. I’ve been to too many of these things. I’ve seen too many families go through this.

But then I am reminded of what the Lord tells Ezekiel. “I will give you a new heart,” the Lord says, “and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.”

That’s what we must pray for, each of us. A new heart. Not a heart of stone, but a heart open to the fears and hopes and challenges of our fellow citizens.

That’s what we’ve seen in Dallas these past few days, and that’s what we must sustain. Because with an open heart, we can learn to stand in each other’s shoes and look at the world through each other’s eyes. So that maybe the police officer sees his own son in that teenager with a hoodie, who’s kind of goofing off but not dangerous.
(APPLAUSE)

And the teenager — maybe the teenager will see in the police officer the same words, and values and authority of his parents.
(APPLAUSE)

With an open heart, we can abandon the overheated rhetoric and the oversimplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans, not just opponents, but to enemies.

With an open heart, those protesting for change will guard against reckless language going forward. Look at the model set by the five officers we mourn today. Acknowledge the progress brought about by the sincere efforts of police departments like this one in Dallas. And embark on the hard, but necessary work of negotiation, the pursuit of reconciliation.

With an open heart, police departments will acknowledge that just like the rest of us, they’re not perfect. That insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals.
(APPLAUSE)

And I understand these protests — I see them. They can be messy. Sometimes they can be hijacked by an irresponsible few. Police can get hurt.
(APPLAUSE)

Protesters can get hurt. They can be frustrated. But even those who dislike the phrase “black lives matter,” surely, we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family.
(APPLAUSE)

We should — when we hear a friend describe him by saying that, whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody, that should sound familiar to us, that maybe he wasn’t so different than us. So that we can, yes, insist that his life matters.

OBAMA: Just as we should hear the students and co-workers describe their affection for Philando Castile as a gentle soul. Mr. Rogers with deadlocks, they called him. And know that his life mattered to a whole lot of people of all races, of all ages, and that we have to do what we can without putting officers’ lives at risk, but do better to prevent another life like his from being lost.

With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right
(APPLAUSE)

Because the vicious killer of these police officers — they won’t be the last person who tries to make us turn on one another. The killer in Orlando wasn’t nor was the killer in Charleston. We know there is evil in this world, that’s why we need police department departments.
(APPLAUSE)

But as Americans, we can decide that people like this killer will ultimately fail. They will not drive us apart. We can decide to come together and make our country reflect the good inside us, the hopes and simple dreams we share.

We also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. For all of us, life presents challenges and suffering. Accidents, illnesses, the loss of loved ones; there are times when we are overwhelmed by sudden calamity, natural or man-made. All of us, we make mistakes, and at times we are lost.

And as we get older, we learn we don’t always have control of things, not even a president does. But we do have control over how we respond to the world. We do have control or how we treat one another.

America does not ask us to be perfect, precisely because of our individual imperfections, our founders gave us institutions to guard against tyranny and ensure no one is above the law. A democracy that gives us the space to work through our differences and debate them peacefully, to make things better, even if it doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like. America gives us the capacity to change.

But as the men we mourn today, these five heroes knew better than most, we cannot take the blessings of this nation for granted. Only by working together can we preserve those institutions of family and community, rights and responsibilities, law and self-government that is the hallmark of this nation.

It turns out we do not persevere alone. Our character is not found in isolation. Hope does not arise by putting our fellow man down, it is found by lifting others up.
(APPLAUSE)

And that’s what I take away from the lives of these outstanding men. The pain we feel may not soon pass, but my faith tells me that they did not die in vain. I believe our sorrow can make us a better country. I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace. Weeping may endure for a night but I’m convinced joy comes in the morning.
(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We cannot match the sacrifices made by Officers Zamarippa and Ahrens, Krol, Smith and Thompson, but surely we can try to match their sense of service. We cannot match their courage, but we can strive to match their devotion.

May God bless their memory. May God bless this country that we love.

week a

WASHINGTON, JUNE 25, 2015 —US-COURT-The Supreme Court rescued President Obama’s health care law on Thursday for the second time in three years, rejecting a conservative challenge to the law’s financial structure that could have proved fatal.  By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that insurance subsidies created by the health law can be offered in both state and federal health care exchanges, or marketplaces, putting the landmark 2010 statute on solid legal footing for the immediate future and handing the law’s opponents a sound defeat.

week 5

CHARLESTON, SC – JUNE 25: First Of Charleston Church Shooting Victims Laid To Rest:  Brandon Risher comforts his mother, Sharon Risher, during the funeral service for her mother, Ethel Lance, 70, who was one of nine victims of a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, during her funeral service at Royal Missionary Baptist Church, on June 25, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21 years old, is accused of killing the nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation’s oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

week 3

US-SHOOTING-CHARLESTON A family member of Emanuel AME Church shooting victim Ethel Lance prays during the funeral at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, South Carolina, June 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

week 1

President Obama Joins Mourners At Funeral Of Rev. Clementa Pinckney CHARLESTON, SC – JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney’s funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation’s oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

week 2

President Obama Speaks On Supreme Court Ruling In Favor Of Gay Marriage WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama gives remarks on the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, in the Rose Garden at the White House June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Today the high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

week 7

US-COURT-GAY-MARRIAGE-RIGHTS  People celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation’s highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

week 6

Celebrations Take Part Across Country As Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Gay Marriage–ANN ARBOR, MI – JUNE 26: Same-sex marriage supporters rejoice after the U.S Supreme Court hands down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage on June 26th, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

week 8

The US Episcopal Church voted to let gay couples wed in its religious ceremonies but clergy can opt out of officiating–SALT LAKE CITY, NEVADA, JULY 1, 2015, 11:30PM ET: The U.S. Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to let gay couples wed in the denomination’s religious ceremonies, reinforcing its support for same-sex nuptials days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.  The Rev. Bonnie Perry of Chicago, a lesbian married to a fellow Episcopal priest, hugged fellow supporters on Wednesday and said, “We’re all included now.”  The Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, became in 2012 the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions….the faith’s House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops, which overwhelmingly approved the measure in a separate vote on Tuesday.  “In 1976, the Church promised full and equal claim to LGBT members, and we’ve spent those years making that resolution a reality,” said the Rev. Susan Russell of the Diocese of Los Angeles.  (cbs photo)

mug for front

MARYLAND FOOD BANK FIRE:

OCEAN CITY, Md. — The pastor of St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church died of injuries suffered early Tuesday after a man set himself ablaze in the building’s basement.

Witnesses said the fire started when a man set himself on fire and entered the food bank housed in the Ocean City church’s basement. That man also died, and a woman suffered life-threatening injuries.

STORY: Man reportedly lit himself, causes blaze at food bank

The Rev. David A. Dingwall died at Atlantic General Hospital, according to the Rev. Canon Heather Cook of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, Md.

The man who reportedly started the fire, a client of the food pantry, has not been identified by authorities. His body was at the scene late Tuesday, being reviewed by a medical examiner, city spokeswoman Jessica Waters said.

A woman whom police have not identified was first taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, then transferred to a burn unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, according to Ocean City Police spokeswoman Lindsay O’Neal.

“Whether it’s accidental or it’s criminal has not been determined at this time,” said Jessica Waters, a spokeswoman for Ocean City.

She said several witness statements have been taken, and authorities will take that into account as part of their investigation. Police urged the public to come forward with photo or video.

The fire reportedly began after someone ran into the church on fire, according to Cook.

“The fire started in the basement of the church offices in what’s called the Shepherd’s Crook food bank, where you can imagine they’ve been distributing a lot of food for the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said. “It’s a wooden church and it sounds like it caught fire very quickly.”

After arriving on the scene around 9:25 a.m., some first responders worked to control the fire while others placed the injured onto stretchers and ran them to nearby ambulances.

“Right now the church leaders are rather traumatized by this,” Cook said a few hours after the fire

jl_ocfire_112613_DSC_1298 (2)

jl_ocfire_112613_DSC_1272 (2)

A firefighter leans over the railing outside the entrance of St. Paul’s by the Sea church in Ocean City, Md., after a man lit himself on fire inside the church’s food bank. (Photo: Joe Lamberti, The Salisbury, Md., Daily Times)

Easter 5 Sermon
By David Dingwall on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9:47pm
Easter 5 Sermon
May 6th 2012

On Friday morning while checking my Facebook page I came across some horrific news. Early on Thursday evening there were three shootings at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City. The parish’s Administrative Assistant, Brenda Brewington, was killed. As far as I know the co-rector, The Reverend Dr. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, remains in critical condition and on life support at Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore awaiting the harvesting of her organs for transplant, and Douglas Franklin Jones, believed to be the shooter,was found in the woods nearby…dead as the result of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

At the time no motive was known although rumors were circulating that the shooter was a mentally unbalanced homeless man who was known at the church. While my first thoughts were for the families of Ms Brewington…the well-being of the family and friends of the Reverend Kohn, the community of St. Peter’s and the entire Diocese of Maryland; I couldn’t help but think about the backlash that will occur if it turns out that it was a mentally ill homeless man who committed this evil act.

When an immigrant…legal or illegal…commits a crime we hear demands to close the borders completely and engage in mass deportations. When a parolee commits a violent crime we hear demands that in every criminal conviction we ought to “lock them up and throw away the key.” When a homeless person commits an atrocious act of violence…like appears to have happened in Ellicott City on Thursday evening… we are tempted to say that such people are not only all worthless…but that they are all dangerous and all dishonest and we ought to do as much as we can to keep them as far away from us as possible.

Such reactions are understandable…I have them myself. The same Thursday afternoon as the shooting I went to pick up Ian from his afterschool program where I learned that there had been an altercation in which another young boy had not only threatened to break Ian’s glasses…because of a lacrosse mishap…but also threatened to ‘Kill’ his mother. This boy is often described as being ‘A foster kid’ as a way of understanding why he acts the way that he does…. And believe me there is a part of me that wanted to insure that child is not only never near Ian again…but never near any other child in the program either. Setting aside the fact that I don’t have the power to do any such thing…it wouldn’t be the right thing to do if I did. Understandable? Maybe…. Right? Not at all.

It’s easy to say that we ‘respect the dignity of every human being’ …it’s not so easy to do when one of those human beings threatens the well-being of those you love. It’s even more difficult to do so when one of those human beings takes the lives of two sisters in Christ and shatters the life of a community of faith. But there are no caveats…

The Christian thing…the faithful thing…the right thing to do is to grieve for our loss…and make no mistake what happened in that church is our loss…to comfort those who are suffering…to prayerfully consider how we move forward…and to make sure that the forces of evil do not use our natural reactions to such a horrific act as a way to push us further into a fortress mentality. To resist the temptation to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves, and those we love, from the dangers…both real and imagined…of the world around us.

We do have a responsibility to make our communities as safe as possible…whether it is in our homes, our schools, our churches or anywhere else… because that is part of what it means to ‘respect the dignity of every human being’. But it is also our responsibility to do so in a way that doesn’t turn our communities into a series of armed encampments where we watch suspiciously for anyone who doesn’t act, look or think like us. Communities where those in need are shunned because we’re afraid of what they might do to us. It’s not an easy thing…but then again no one ever said that being a follower of Jesus was easy.

Philip was a first century follower of Jesus. One day…perhaps while minding his own business…Philip is spoken to by an angel of the LORD who says “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” The angel doesn’t say why…just that Philip is to get up do it. The author of the Book of Acts adds the information that “This is a wilderness road.”…meaning that it was likely a dangerous route. Does Philip ask why…does he appear to do anything to assure his own safety before he goes? No. According to the text Philip heard the message and “…he got up and went.” Just like that…he got up and went.

Now Philip encountered someone in need…not in material or physical need…but in spiritual need. The eunuch was a man of influence and privilege…but he was also a man who wanted to understand the scripture was reading…and Philip had been sent for precisely that purpose.

So Philip responded to that man’s need…teaching him the story of Jesus in a way that intrigued the Ethiopian so much that “As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” Of course the answer was nothing…and that day another soul was added to the number of disciples of Jesus Christ.

Now I am absolutely NOT suggesting that the shooting in Ellicott City happened because the Mr. Jones’ needs were not met. Even if the church there turned him away that is never an excuse for resorting to violence. What I am suggesting is that there is always risk when it comes to serving the community in the name of God.

I have had my life threatened because of my faith on a couple of occasions…once an irate man threatened to throw me off the top deck of a ferry into the Pacific Ocean on a dark winter night because of how he felt the church…my church… had treated his mother. Another man pointed a loaded crossbow at me because he believed the church had stolen money that rightfully belonged to his community. Here at St. Paul’s By-The-Sea I’ve been chased around the building by an angry, intoxicated woman because I didn’t have the money she wanted from me in order to pay her rent. On each of those occasions I was scared…I was tempted to respond in anger and maybe even violently…but in the end I was reminded that we are called to ‘Respect the dignity of every human being’…even the angry, scary, threatening ones.

Last week Ken MacMullin stood before the congregation and announced his ‘retirement’ from the day-to-day leadership of Shepherd’s Crook…our ministry to our neighbors in need. It caught me off guard…not because I didn’t know Ken wanted to retire…but because I didn’t know he was going to announce it then until shortly before he did it. Had I been better prepared I would have said something along these lines:

When I first came to Saint Paul’s By-The-Sea I met with Ken to learn about the Crook. He was telling me how it all came about because of an experience in which Ken heard a voice telling him to “Feed my people”. And to quote Ken: “And we’ve been doing it ever since.” Ken didn’t wonder if there was something wrong with his hearing, he didn’t ask how he was supposed to do this…or why him in the first place…he got up and he went. And as he got up and went things fell into place and the wonderful ministry known as Shepherd’s Crook came into being….

And that ministry will continue because it is doing God’s work…now it is being done under the leadership of Bruce Young…and sometime will into in the future …although it may look different…it will continue under the leadership of someone else.

Just last week I heard some news of one of my college roommates who is the priest of a congregation in Calgary Alberta. Right now he and a team from his congregation are on their second annual mission trip to Sierra Leone where they are working to build a school in a small community in that impoverished country. Now that is a mission…and I suspect there are some risks inherent in it. But those risks didn’t deter Stephen and his congregation…the risks of opening our doors to the community didn’t deter Ken and it won’t deter the ongoing ministry of Shepherd’s Crook.

Today I was going to focus on the third of The Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission…and I think I did. That ‘mark’ is: “To respond to human need by loving service’. I suspect that’s what the congregation of St. Peter’s Ellicott City was doing when they opened their doors to a man who ended up doing unspeakable violence to them. And I suspect that going forward they will do the same thing again…not because they are foolish or have a martyr complex…but because they are faithful. Because they, and we, and all of God’s people are called to be faithful to our Risen Lord…faithful to the one who was crucified before he was raised…the one who died before he was resurrected to new life… the one who leads us on that same path because it is the path of loving service. Amen.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/saint-pauls-by-the-sea/easter-5-sermon/10150771015848148

Here is the ENS story re: Reverend Dingwall.

monthly archives

archives

Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

  • 346,152

say hello

If you drop by my site, I'd love to know what brought you here and a bit about where you are from and how you feel about your visit. Take a minute and say hello!

FAIR USE NOTICE

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
March 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Pages

Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory