Dear Clergy of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,
The events of this past week in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas have been disturbing and difficult to process. The escalating violence in our own country, layered with tragic and almost daily loss in the global arena- Paris, Brussels, and the Middle East- is overwhelming for us as individuals and, even more, as leaders who teach peace, justice and the love of God.
Please know that my prayers, support and love are with you as you minister to and with your congregations in these days. I urge you not to try to make sense or reconcile these horrific events-for that that is the work of our awe-some God – but to find the courage to simply stand with your people in the place of hurt, bewilderment and sorrow, and hold the center Gospel message of love.
Pray the words of St. Paul:
All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ– if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.
Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39
I will be with you all in prayer tomorrow as you gather with your congregations for worship.
With Hope in the resurrection and gratitude for all of you-
+Audrey 9 July 2016