Rector's Weekly Message, December 3, 2015

It seems strangely right to write about John the Baptist’s call to repentance one day after the killings in San Bernardino, the 351st mass shooting in the US in 2015.  Nearly three years after Sandy Hook, December 14, 2012, we still hear these events referred to as tragedies as though they were merely unforeseeable acts of misguided or sick individuals.  But 351 mass shootings in 342 days are not tragedies.  These are manifestations of systemic problems with the way we deal with poverty, racism, and violence.  There is widespread consensus about some of the changes we need to make with the way we buy and sell guns in this country, with the way we stigmatize and regulate mental health care, and with investments in prisons v. schools that are grossly out of balance.  But we seem unable or unready to make the changes because our civil discourse and behavior keeps us from what John the Baptist calls "the way of the Lord."  The way of the Lord is to become human, reducing all political categories to the only relevant category and restoring divine dignity to every human being.  In our civil discourse and behavior we must stop categorizing and demonizing groups of people and instead follow the way of the Lord, who directs us to seek and serve God in all persons love our neighbors, documented and undocumented, Christian and non-Christian, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, as ourselves.  Putting aside those other categories we have to work together for what is best for all children in the name of the one who became a child to save us.  We know at least some of the things that need to be done.  May the Lord we follow help us do what we can to bring them to pass.