Dear friends,

I write to you today after yet another tragic mass killing, now the deadliest shooting in modern American history, perpetrated by someone whose hate and fear overwhelmed them. Late Sunday night in Las Vegas, more than 50 lives were lost, more than 400 people injured, and untold numbers of families radically changed forever. As I grieve this tragedy, I reach out to you with a word of comfort and hope.

That comfort starts with me. I am heartbroken for those who died from this act of terror and for all of us who have been reminded, once again, that life is precious and often too short. We know that our faith in the risen Christ gives us the power to overcome wickedness and evil, but at times like these, finding hope in that faith can seem so very difficult.

Yesterday I preached that fear can tempt us to question the truth of God, and that same fear can lead us toward evil. But I also preached that we have the Spirit of the living God in us and we have all the tools we need to bring light into the darkest places. No, we cannot on our own prevent evil from ever breaking through, but we can work to bring about the hopefulness of God’s kingdom on earth today.

So today, I invite you to act. First, take action in prayer. Prayer is a gift from God to help us remember what we know to be true: God’s love is unconditional and pours out over everyone. Pray for the souls lost in Las Vegas and for their families. And pray for each one of us. Prayer will guide us on our way.

After you pray, get up and do what God moves you to do. Get up and take action in a way that authentically claims your faith in love. Care for a friend, feed a stranger, hug your children, write to your leaders, talk to your neighbors — whatever you do, do something in the name of love that helps make our world a better place tomorrow than it is today.

Saint Michael has a unique role to play in the story of God’s kingdom. We have the capacity to impact real change for the good of every person. Let us not be overwhelmed by fear, controlled by anger, or swallowed in grief. Let us root our hope in the words of Jesus who announces good news to us: The kingdom of God has come near. The kingdom of God has indeed come near and is alive in each one of us.

May we all have the strength to pray, the courage to act, and the faith to love with abundance!

In peace, hope, and love,

The Reverend Dr. Christopher D. Girata

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

To hear more of the Rector’s call to reject fear and bring the light of Christ into dark places, watch his sermon from Sunday, October 1.