In reaction to the horrific murder of 49 persons and the maiming of even more in a nightclub in Orlando, an outpouring of passionate responses—vigils, prayer services, blogs, editorials in the media around the world--including Bishops of the Episcopal Church---have appeared. These responses range from expression of condolence, love and support, to outrage. In all of them is the hope that the time for change has come, that America and Americans of all colors, creeds and faiths will embrace metanoia, (from the Greek meaning change and a change of heart).  Jesus’s ministry was all about change demonstrating how to live faithfully and fearlessly. When will our senseless killing cease? When and how might our hearts become less fixed in fear? When we will embrace commonsense laws preventing weapons made for war out of the hands of so many Americans.  Slowly but surely we are hearing more and more persons decrying old attitudes inviting us to embrace metanoia--change for the sake of the future. How wonderful voices such as our Organist/choirmaster, Jason Abel in his blog post reminds of the heritage of our Christian faith called to be peacemakers so poignantly expressed in the hymns of the church. 

Worship is one significant way to embrace change. As we prayerfully put ourselves into the “hands of God” in worship, we invite God into our hearts that we be changed. In prayer, in the reading of scripture, in our singing of hymns, and our reception of the Sacrament, we are surrendering our need to be in charge of the world that God be God, acting in us to change our fear into faith. 

The 5:00 p.m. service on Sunday evenings at Christ Church is intentionally quiet, incorporating readings, prayers, silence, the laying on of hands, a brief homily as well as music provided by volunteer singers and organists.  In this quiet, we still ourselves to listen. Perhaps in this time we are able to listen more deeply to scripture, more deeply say our prayers, more deeply listen to the silence itself. This is a time and place marking the end of the Sabbath in which we still ourselves after a busy weekend. 

In last week’s 5:00 p.m. service, we noted Annie Dillard, Pulitzer-prize winning writer, who recently published a compendium of her best work. We commend it to you, Annie once said, the universe…..was made  in solemn, incomprehensible earnest.   …you (must) walk fearlessly…like the monk on the road who ….carries (her) vision of vastness and might around in (her) tunic like a live coal which neither burns nor warns (her) but with which (she) will not part

Like the monk who believes in God and Jesus who carries their vision and faith like a live coal, we, too, carry our faith wrapped around, in and through our lives. Because fear snuffs out lives and hope, our charge as “monks” of the 21st century is to boldly and brazenly lift high our vision of heaven and glory. Jesus invites us to share our light, that with the burning embers of hope we can truly change the world.