The Rev. Susan Russell shared the content of her sermon with The Huffington Post. In it, she quotes the Presiding Bishop, whose words to the Episcopal Church on its re-imagining and restructuring seemed to also fit in post-Aurora context:
Until we can see the chasm between what is and what ought to be, we don’t have any hope of changing. Indeed it is the act of crossing that boundary between what is and what ought to be that is so characteristic of prophets … Prophetic words of comfort or challenge urge a kind of frontier work — getting across the fence between fear and possibility, reconciling division, transforming injustice, urging the lost onto the road home.
Russell considers that the gunman legally obtained his firearms, and then imagines a step towards more reasonable gun control laws in part by a Twitter post:
In the words of satirist Andy Borowitz, received via Twitter early Sunday morning: “Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as, say, a gun.”
And that — as I said to the congregation gathered at All Saints Church in Pasadena — is a tweet that deserves an “Amen.”
It not only deserves an “amen” but it deserves our best energies committed to getting over whatever fences stand between what “is” — a world where fear dominates our discourse, pollutes our politics and feeds violence — and what “ought to be” is what Jesus called “the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
Russell concludes with a final image of climbing over the fence to what “ought to be”:
There is a fence between that new possibility we cannot even imagine today: a future without assault weapons, without gun violence and without waiting for the next shoe to drop in the next explosion of rage and carnage in a movie theater. Or a college campus. Or a shopping mall campaign stop. Together let us climb that fence. Together let us claim the future. Together let us make the impossible possible as we work to reconcile division, to transform injustice and to urge the lost onto the road home. And together we — like Andy Borowitz — can do more than dream of a world where mental health care is as easy to get as, say, a gun. We can make it happen.