Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
Last Sunday, in the early morning hours, a gunman opened fire inside a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 men and women, ranging in age from 19 to 49, and injuring at least 53 others. Several hours later, the gunman was also killed in a firefight with a SWAT team. It was a scene filled with terror and blood and fear.
Last Wednesday, as the sun was setting, Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and five other congregations co-sponsored a “Prayer Vigil of Lament and Hope” in response to the violence and senseless killing that took place in Orlando and that continues to take place across our nation. I led the prayers of the people that night, holding in the unconditional and unending love of Jesus those who needlessly lost their lives and “those in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, and . . . all who love, and all who grieve.” We prayed that they would find strength in that love to meet the days ahead. As commanded by Jesus, we prayed, too, for those who seek to do harm.
I’m grateful to serve as the Rector of a congregation that truly hopes to be a house of prayer for all people, including our LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ. So let us weep with those who weep, remembering the “old, old story” of the early hours of another Sunday when Jesus was raised from the dead and looking for a new dawn when the light dispels, once and for all, the darkness of this world and in our hearts.
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector