Winn Collier pastors in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has a new book coming out, but I'll share about that later this week.
Winn has been out in his town and at his church this week. He is a man of courage, compassion and wisdom. I'm borrowing from his FB page to share a bit of his experience and heart during these tragic times.
Friends, thank you to so many of you for checking in today, for praying. It has been a very long day, and the sadness is heavy here. The deaths weigh heavy on us. 1 killed by a raging White Nationalist driver, 2 state police officers killed in a copter crash. I got home a few hours ago, and I'm hugging my family extra tight. There are families who cannot do that tonight. Today I saw some of the worst of humanity's evil, but I also encountered moments of mercy. Today I saw the utter destruction from the lies we embrace; I also encountered glimmers of how light can set us free. I found myself in spaces this afternoon that I couldn't have been prepared for and between raging people in scenarios I couldn't have possibly imagined. I was caught up in a divine mercy in some of those moments, thin places I'm still processing. I did not know where exactly I was to go today, but what I kept hearing was: "go where the pain is." With those bare instructions, there were lots of places to go. I'm thankful for all the brave, loving people I encountered. The pain is far from over, but I do believe that love will lead us home.
So many words and actions on Saturday, so many words of repentance and sorrow and yes -- hope on Sunday. But today I have no words. I'm trying to listen to God, and I'm listening to Mother Teresa. I do want to give the light of Christ.
"We need to find God and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence...Is not our mission to give God to the poor in the slums? Not a dead God, but a living, loving God. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All our words will be useless unless they come from within—-words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness."
Veering from the Lectionary, we've written our collect for our church today as we will gather and pray and weep and put, again, our hope in Risen Jesus. I realized, after this was written, that any of our brothers and sisters, before the Lord's Table or as you gather to worship or in circles at home, could pray this prayer with us:
Almighty God, who in the person of Jesus knows exactly what it is to endure evil and to be murdered by rage, we ask you to come and help us and to be near to Charlottesville in our crushing sorrow. We ask these things with tears and boldness in the name of Jesus, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, rules and reigns over our city and our church and our streets, now and forever. Amen.