The heaviness of fear and human suffering that unites these disparate events can seem too much to bear or express, even when we are far from harm’s way. Our faith compels us to pray-for the suffering, for safety and healing, for peace, and to do so privately as well as when we gather to worship. We are also compelled to act; we vote, support relief organizations, and try to help as best we can.
We are also called to be part of the transformation of the world through God’s love. In the Baptismal Covenant, which we will repeat this Sunday at the baptism of Hudson Morgan Israel, we make promises about how we will live in ways that participate in the coming of the Kingdom of God: continuing in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship; resisting evil; proclaiming by word and example the good news of God; seeking and serving Christ in all persons; striving for justice and peace and respecting the dignity of all people. These are big concepts, big promises.
We live them out moment by moment, every day. This Sunday’s gospel teaches us to be “a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.” The epistle warns against false teachers and encourages focusing forward on the goal of “the heavenly call of God in Jesus Christ.” The reading from Exodus presents us with foundational principles of the Decalogue, the “ten commandments.” The psalm gives beautiful voice to the ways divine instruction (“Torah”) transforms humans.
We long for hope, for light in the darkness, for expressions of love and kindness. We can be and do these things in the world. Sunday we will promise to support Hudson in his life of being and doing these things, and we will renew our own strength, too.