Sunday morning, and the church was dressed in white, an island hour between the green of Ordinary Time. We celebrated that extraordinary time, eternity, which spans here, now, and then, world without end. We remembered those who had opened our hearts to the eternity of love, grief, and gratitude that marks human existence. At one point in my sermon, I said, “We are the Communion of Saints” to those who pass by, waiting to be surprised by a glimpse of that which lies beyond the next breath.
Then, the news. Our candles were barely cold before the heat of grief, outrageous death, rekindled our cries, our prayer.
Quickly, the conversation in some church circles turned to our security, and whether it was time to join the American arms race, to defend ourselves, our prayers, our neighbours whom we love against acts of violence that, with their increasing toll, seem less and less random.
A word of scripture whispered in my ear, and would not let me go.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
It is not naiveté that invites me to open our doors, to welcome the stranger, to continue resolutely vulnerable to danger, as well as to epiphany. It is the way of the cross. It is the hospitality of the Communion of Saints. It is, if Christ is to be believed, the way of Life.
The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is an Episcopal priest and author living in NE Ohio.