Monday, June 13, 2016

More than ever, we need love to guide us ...

At roughly 2:00 am on the morning of Sunday, June 12th, a 29 year-old man named Omar Mateen walked into Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida, and began shooting.  By the time he was killed by police, at least 50 people were dead, and another 53 had been sent to the hospital, some with life-threatening wounds.  A trauma surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center has been quoted as saying that he fully expects the death toll to rise.  Even as it is now, though, this is the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

What are we – as Unitarian Universalists – to do with something like this?  How are we – as a faith community that has long advocated for LGBTQ rights – supposed to respond?  Pulse is a gay club, and June is Pride month.  Where can we – simply as members of our common human family – look for answers to why things like this happen … can happen … keep happening?

Yesterday morning, unaware of this tragedy, I was preaching a sermon about love, about how “love is the answer.”  That might seem overly simplistic, and yet there really is no other answer to these questions:

What do we do with something like this?  We look to the love in our lives for comfort and strength.

How are we to respond?  By doing all that we can to increase love in the world (“to increase love with justice” as the affirmation of one of our congregations puts it each week).

Why do things like this happen?  Because there is a whole lot of love needed in this world.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  50 people are dead, and countless more lives have been devastated, changed forever, by the power of such hatred.  The only thing that, in the end, has any hope of overcoming it is love.

Tonight C’ville Pride is organizing a rally at the Free Speech Wall downtown, an opportunity for our larger community to come together in our collective shock, our grief, our anger but ultimately, hopefully, in our love.  I hope many of you will be there, too.  (We can gather around our Standing on the Side of Love placard which I’ll be bringing.)  At times like this we need one another; at times like this we remember just how much we need each other.  At times like this our call to live our lives in love, through love, and for love could not be more clear.  May the love of this faith community sustain us as we work to make this a more loving world.

Pax tecum (peace to you),


"Love Will Guide Us" by Sally Rogers,
sung at General Assembly 2014 (June 25-29) in Providence, RI. 
The theme was “Love Reaches Out.”