Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Shall We Do? Third Sunday of Advent Homily, reflection on the killings at Newtown, CT

Another reflection by a UUCF member, this one by the Rev. Marguerite Sheehan of Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls, MA.

What Shall We Do? Homily

3rd Sunday of Advent December 16, 2012

Reverend Marguerite Sheehan ~ Trinity Church


          “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” The Psalmist, ancient singer of all things human prayed to God to bring joy even in the middle of sorrow. “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!....O Lord, be my helper!”You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sack cloth and clothed me with joy so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.”  And so, like the Psalmist we too gather in this time of sorrow, in the dark night of our soul and the soul of every person who has been touched by the killings in Connecticut, and we pray that joy will come in the morning.

          For the last few days, all of us have been asking God and asking each other the same question that John the Baptist followers asked him when he preached to them about the coming of Jesus into their lives. They and we ask “What shall we do?” What shall we do when we are faced with such violence? What shall we do when our sorrow is so great and when we know that the sorrow of the families in Connecticut is unimaginable. What shall we do when in the United States 8 children every day are killed by a gun, 8 children every day– either by drive by shootings, by accidents, by domestic violence or by school shootings. What shall we do? It is an ancient question and it is not going away. What shall we do?

           After Jesus died his followers asked “What shall we do?” while they waited for him to return. I believe that Paul’s answer to those disciples is one that might help us answer our own questions of what we, at Trinity Church are to do in our day and age and especially when we are asking ourselves, as we face this tragedy I Connecticut “What shall we do?” Listen again to Paul and think about ourselves. Does his advice resonate?

          “Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

          What shall we do? There is really nothing to do with the fears and the grief and the anxieties of our time but rejoice and let God be God.  And let our gentleness be known to everyone. We are called to practice being gentle with each other and with everyone who comes across our path. What shall we do? Remember that the Lord is near and take heart. Do not worry about anything but let our requests be known to God. What shall we do?  Trust that God is so near that even our most fearful whisper can be heard and that peace, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, is right here. This peace is right in our sanctuary and in the sanctuary of each and every heart and mind, guarding us and directing us and teaching us just what we are to do right now. We just have to turn around and look.  Rejoice, even in your sorrow, rejoice, because the peace of God is not only coming but is here.  Amen.


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