Loving Our Neighbors Across Every Difference And Division
Dear Parish Family & Friends,
In our annual commemoration of All Faithful Departed, we, the living, seek to renew the meaning of our mortal existence. In customary Good Shepherd form, this weekend’s celebrations were beautiful and moving: oboe and harp, orchestra and choir in Rutter’s Requiem; the tolling bell and the praying of the Necrology across our campuses; the receipt of Communion and our commissioned return to the world.
While our Episcopal order-making inclinations support these efforts to make sense of death’s inevitability, the hate-filled week leading to Sunday’s worship is not acceptable as a “fact of life.” To the contrary, we as Christians, name, grieve, and challenge the disorder of such violence and the contexts that give rise to it.
In Sunday’s sermon, I proposed that “every one of us is a universe of hurt and hope and beauty and burden, at once subject to this world and, yet, so full of God.” In the light of these last days, may we be clear:
- that the “us” of that claim includes our political opponents;
- that the “us” includes those who died in Jeffersontown, Kentucky’s Kroger; and
- that the “us” includes those who died in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
We as Christians and as members of Good Shepherd must take seriously how our actions, affiliations, and attitudes contribute to such violence and to a national discourse normalizing these terrors. While I do find hope in the turnout at Sunday evening’s vigil of peace and healing at Dell Jewish Community Campus – so many, in fact, that what had been planned as one event, became two – we as a congregation must remain committed to loving our neighbors across every difference and division.
On November 18, Interfaith Action of Central Texas will host its Annual Day of Thanks Service and Celebration. As part of that afternoon’s program, Good Shepherd, along with faith communities from across the city, will participate in a special litany of support and encouragement for our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Between now and then, we as a parish will remain faithful in prayer and action. During our Noonday Prayers for Reconciliation and Peace, we will toll the parish bell and remember by name all those who died in Kentucky and in Pittsburgh. This Sunday, November 4, at 9:30a in the Parish Hall, I will facilitate our final “Formed for Forever” forum, a conversation about how the Church can stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities, in this moment and always.
I hope you will join me in these efforts, as – together – we labor for a more Beloved Community.
Peace be with you,
The Rev. Morgan Allen