For more than a month, our church has been exploring what it means to get outside our own little worlds, thanks to a series by Marcia McFee. One week, through the theme, “Break My Heart for What breaks Yours,” we were each invited to consider the pain of the world. This week, it feels like so much more than a thought experiment. How is God feeling as the people of Pittsburgh grieve, comfort, cry out, and gather?
Outside my own little world…gunmen walk into houses of worship and sacred space is shattered.
I don’t know. Nor do I know if knowing would help, or if that kind of hatred can or ever should be understood. I don’t know.
I certainly can’t explain the hatred or the violence to my children. I don’t know why it happened. But I can talk about pain, and grief, the cost of violence. I can try, again and again, to model showing up to stand in solidarity with others. I can talk about God’s dreams for a world where all children, without exception are safe, loved, celebrated. I can talk about differences of faith and culture as opportunities for curiosity and conversation, not isolation, division, or hatred.
Outside my little world…there is hatred, but there is love too, and hope, and great, great joy. All the stuff that is out there, is within me, and you, too. We’re given the opportunity to respond to tragedy, to acts of violence, to oppression and exploitation by choosing more violence and hatred, or love, compassion, grace, and justice.
What can we do in the face of such pain? We can pray. We can show up at vigils. We can check-in on our neighbors. We can talk with our children about ways to choose peace and love. We can speak up. We can vote. We can learn. We can look inside our own hearts, noticing our own hard-heartedness, and asking God to soften us, to “break our hearts for what breaks Yours.”
I hope you’ll join me at the vigil on Thursday Night at the Cape Cod Synagogue.
Praying for peace,
Standing in Solidarity, Cape Codders from all backgrounds will gather at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Cape Cod Synagogue, 145 Winter Street, Hyannis, MA 02601. This interfaith gathering is in response to the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and other acts of intolerance, hatred and divisiveness.