Recently I started changing the words on our sign every week. It had been the same for a long time, and I thought it would be nice to keep it fresh. Selecting the white plastic letters one character at a time is a much slower way of communicating than what I’m used to in our digital world, but it has its place. Right now the sign reads:
PEACE ON EARTH
It is ironic, then, that today I saw the news of someone stabbing five people at a Rabbi’s home in New York as congregants were gathering to celebrate Hanukkah—and then this morning (as we were gathered for our Sunday morning worship) a shooting at a Christian church in Texas left two people dead. Whenever an atrocious act like this occurs, people of faith everywhere must condemn it. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to respect all religions and all believers—therefore we must speak up to say this is unacceptable.
And it’s natural to be afraid, to wonder if this could happen here at our Fellowship. Does our liberal religious and social stance make us more of a target for some crazy violent person? Perhaps. We have a safety team that is talking about protocols for violent intruders in the building, as any public institution should have. And I will not let fear of such an unlikely event stop me from being open and welcoming and outspokenly liberal.
While events in the news make it feel like we live in a violent time, I want to also share here a very optimistic piece that I read in the New York Times today. The author, Nicholas Kristof, uses the attention-grabbing title “This Has Been the Best Year Ever: For humanity overall, life just keeps getting better.” His point is that historically, through recent decades and centuries, life for humans on earth has been getting steadily safer and better. His two primary measures are poverty and literacy. Without saying that everything is good in today’s world, he says that statistically people are much less poor and much more literate than at any time in human history. This is worth noticing and celebrating, even as we dedicate our lives to improving human life for all people, ending religious violence, and spreading love and hope in the world. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Peace on Earth.
God of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement in New York,
God of the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas,
God of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Michigan,
hear this prayer: May those who have been wounded and traumatized by violence know healing. May the world weep for those who have been killed—as surely as you, dear and unknowable God, are weeping.
Tonight and tomorrow and next week, may congregations gather in New York and Texas and Michigan, in Toronto and Mexico City and Anchorage, not in fear but in love and hope. May love and hope grace every house of God everywhere on Earth, every synagogue,
every dining room table, every household altar, every evangelical megachurch.
No exceptions. May love and hope be preached and heard in every corner of the Earth,
and felt in every heart.
Shalom. Amen. Blessed be.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
Drew's office hours are suspended until further notice. However, he is reachable at any time via email, phone, or text.
Day off: Friday.
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