The coloring image on the front of your bulletin this Sunday, and at the head of this email, is taken from the abstract stained glass windows that surround our picture windows at Transfiguration. Last night I walked into the Sanctuary and the setting sun was casting a multi colored glow across the floor as it shone through our stained glass windows. I love the light cast by stained glass, it always makes me feel delight and joy.
I am looking for light right now. The tone of our politics, the violence of our culture and fear that our divisions are growing has me worried that we are in the shadows.
Two weeks ago a gunman shot 49 people dead and injured a further 53 in a Gay night club in Orlando, FL. He claimed he was inspired by the Islamic State, it is possible that he was also acting from a place of personal confusion and hatred. Details are still emerging about this man. The whole event hit many of us hard as we wondered who we are becoming.
The Monday after the shooting I prayed about what had happened. My journey as a member of the LGBT community, your Rector and as a person exploring interfaith dialogue came into focus for me and I started to plan this Sunday's service.
Many people have been criticizing the idea of offering 'thoughts and prayers' without action. But I wanted to explore the possibility of approaching 'thoughts and prayers' as a kind of action itself, by inviting people from different faiths to share their thoughts and prayers with us at Transfiguration, and in sharing sacred space with those of different faiths, to make a statement that we should be building bridges between us, not walls.
This coming Sunday we are inviting you into the safe space of our Sanctuary, in our familiar Eucharistic setting to listen to and talk with Noni Anzar, Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon and myself as we offer our thoughts and prayers about the Orlando shooting. Noni is a Muslim Educator from the Islamic Network Group (ING.org) and Ilana is the Rabbi Educator from Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City. I hope that listening to Muslim, Jewish and Christian perspectives on peace might help us all to process this event, and might be a sign of our solidarity with all people of faith who hope for peace.
I picked pride Sunday because it is an important day for the LGBT community in San Francisco, the LGBT community was targeted in this attack, and as an LGBT Priest I want to stand with a Muslim and Jewish colleague in solidarity.
Human beings make windows, but the sun was created by God. Think of our stained glass as a symbol for our various religious and social ideas, throwing light in multiple colors on the floor of our sanctuary, like a rainbow. Side by side these different colors represent the diversity of our gathering this weekend: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, female, male, gay, straight. There are many colors cast by many windows, but the light that shines through them is one light.
I hope to see you Sunday as we think and pray together, welcoming strangers as guests that we hope will become friends.
From the UK, Matthew loved US culture from the first time he picked up a Fantastic Four Comic when he was 12.