As I gaze out my office window I see colors of various hues — reds, golds, pinks and yellows, colors of nature all aglow.
They are colors that will soon disappear into the stone — cold ground, laying bare the limbs that set them free.
In the scripture reading of Lazarus, he has been dead for four long days, yet Jesus orders him to come forth, out of the tomb – he is stone-cold dead; but even in death Lazarus hears the voice of Christ and out from the grave he comes.
Then Jesus turns to Lazarus’ friends and gives them instructions, “Unbind him and set him free.”
For many of us, this past week has been another reminder of those moments of despair that can take us into a cold tomb of death. I am referring to the Tree of Life Killings in Pittsburgh.
The killing of anyone is difficult to comprehend, but the killing of those who are worshiping their God in their sacred space, while someone yells deplorable rhetoric, takes us to a very dark, stone-cold place. So I have to ask myself, what are the ways God is calling me to unwrap the cloths of hate speech, fear, and bigotry?
I admit there are times I am not connected very well to the living source and feel pretty dead, or mixed up, and realize I need to hear something from my Creator. When that call comes, it is like the colors of autumn stirring new life into me.
What are the ways God is calling us into a loving community, vibrant with color? What if we have been wrong and have to identify as someone who is filled with undertones of hate-filled rhetoric? Can we admit that to ourselves and others?
Do we understand that sometimes our silence gives permission to heinous acts? The Muslim community in the Pittsburgh area raised $120,000 in two days to help with burials and any other needs for this Jewish community. That act of compassion helps realign my heart to hope.
There is a reaching out from the Tree of Life community to the local police department, as they offer solace regarding the loss of the four officers who gave their lives to protect those gathered in worship.
As we go about this week, like Lazarus and the beloved community, may we walk in new life and help one another discard the wrappings that keep us bound.
I will close with a beautiful hymn that reminds me of hope” There is a Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. Amen.
Nancy McCormick and husband Mike are pastors of Chester Friends Meeting, and Nancy is Wilmington College’s campus minister.