The below was sent in a congregational email on Monday, June 13, 2016.

This morning I was having breakfast in my oasis–my backyard–listening to birds chatter back and forth and the breeze in the trees. Last night it was not an oasis. I tried to sit outside and talk with friends and the heat was oppressive.

The world is like that. One day oppressive and stifling, and the next we can notice the life around us. What makes the difference?  The conviction that the power of God is at work to heal, resurrect, and reconcile, despite humanity’s best efforts to stifle it.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting yesterday, an act of terror carried out by someone full of hate against a community of people that is already marginalized, how do we faithfully respond?  I don’t profess to have answers, but I do have a few suggestions. Fundamentally, I would say, don’t only pray.  Act.  Write public officials.  Talk to your neighbors.  Reach out to someone who doesn’t look or act like you with an act of kindness.  Be Jesus in the world.
  • Put on God glasses like I wore during children’s time yesterday and realize that God sees us with no distinctions. Only love. And that includes those who are broken enough in their spirits to believe that violence solves anything.
  • Teach healthy conflict resolution in your homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. Model what it looks like to be vulnerable and loving towards those with whom you disagree, while also taking a clear stand, living like Jesus.
  • Have courage in your living. Don’t be afraid to work, play, laugh and love. Those are the acts that will be vessels of hope in the world.
  • Whether “your” issue is gun control, better mental health care, teaching peace–realize that it will take all of us working together to address mass shootings in America. It will take strength and compromise. It will take, most of all, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us beyond passionate convictions to new ways of moving forward–together.
With deepest love for the Welborne faith family,
Pastor Beth