A Pastoral Letter from Rector Chris Girata - June 1, 2020
The past few days have been more confusing and unsettling than many in recent memory. Although the reality of instability and violence has always been real, that reality has come close to home. So much anger is fomenting in the streets of our city and our country that we need a good word, a true word of hope.
Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. The Pentecost story is one many of us know well: “…the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit… (Acts 2:1-4).” The moment when the Spirit touched the disciples like fire is vivid and inspiring, but there is an aspect of this story not often featured.
St. Peter’s sermon to the crowd that day reminds us all that the hopefulness of salvation through Christ is free, not cheap. Christ passed through death itself to show us that we have nothing to fear in this world, that nothing can shake us from God’s love. Yet right now, fear seems to be ever-present.
We have been through a lot in the past few months, and that stress is truly global. The novel coronavirus pandemic has put extraordinary pressure on the fabric of our common life, and the wrongful killing of George Floyd, following so many other wrongful killings, has sparked a different kind of fire that continues to spread across our country. We are staring into a future that is uncertain, so now is the time to build our future as it should be.
I wish I had all the answers to the difficult questions we face, but I do know one thing for sure: Jesus did not come to offer us an easy path, but rather a holy path. When we face violence, Jesus calls us to be agents of peace. When we face hate, Jesus calls us to love. When we face despair, Jesus calls us to hope. When we face injustice, Jesus calls us to act.
The way of Christ is the path of love. For each of us, the path of love will be different, but the path of love means we are forever committed to the healing of this world and to one another. My friends, our world is not as it should be. Our world is broken, and we are surrounded by the brokenness. Now is the time for us to build something better.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love. It might be easy to ignore the pain and the fear swirling around us, but I implore you not to turn away. Every person is a child of God and every person is our neighbor. When our neighbors hurt, God hurts, and when we choose to act as healers, God acts with us.
We will make mistakes and our actions will be messy but being in community takes a great deal of work and every child of God is worth the mess. Have messy conversations because of love. Ask difficult questions because of love. Forgive mistakes because of love. We are all in this together, and together, we can make a difference.
Each new day brings us opportunities to witness to God’s powerful love. May we love fiercely, even when we are scared, for when we do, we help heal our world.
Breathe on us, breath of God. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
With great hope,
The Rev. Dr. Christopher D. Girata
Tags: Blog & Newsroom