Our congregation began as an outdoor sanctuary for those who did not feel welcome in church or, for whatever reason, were not finding their way to church.
It breaks my heart that another sanctuary was shattered that early morning, June 12. That the joyful dancing of those in Orlando who were celebrating their bodies, their spirits -- their unique selves that God created good and beautiful -- was replaced with gunshots and fear and so many lives lost.
During worship that day on the Boston Common, we were in shock. We brought our rage and our grief to God in prayer. And we reminded each other: "You are beautiful." Just as you are. Whoever you are. Whoever you love.
At our McInnis House worship service, our prayer was raw. Several (including myself!) leapt into blame. We blamed our law enforcement system, our government, and especially the shooter himself. And then David spoke up. Full of conviction, he proclaimed: "It's very hard for us to acknowledge this, but this could have been any of us. Any one of us could become Omar."
I felt that truth hit me in the gut. We are all born beautiful, created in God's image. We are all born with the potential to do good and to do evil. And then life happens.
Growing up with poverty, abuse, addiction, and bullying can distort our sense of the divine goodness within us. Racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and economic exploitation begin to wrap us in their chains.
How do we free ourselves? We turn and follow Jesus.
Rather than sinking into blame, and burning out with rage, our community has sought to pray with our feet and walk the way of love.
On the Monday after the massacre at Pulse, several of us attended the Boston vigil at City Hall to honor the lives lost. More community members attended the interfaith vigil at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
During common art, under the leadership of community members Diamond and Virna, we prayerfully read the names of the victims. We made rainbow ribbons to wear and prepared cards to send to the homeless community in Orlando.
We will not let love be swallowed up by hate.