• First Presbyterian Church


Updated: May 23, 2019

by Tim Haworth

Crammed into a small and courageous space, we stood TOGETHER. We shared together. We ate together. We spoke together. We remembered together. We prayed together.

Last Sunday it was my privilege to share in a very sad and holy moment with hundreds of others at the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield. It was called “A Vigil of Solidarity and Support for the Islamic Community.” It was bittersweet as we celebrated this moment of unity and mourned the loss of 50 precious lives. Muslims, Jews, Christians – Protestant and Catholic, Hindus, Unitarian Universalists and a host of unaffiliated faithful came together and created a courageous space. Participants joined together in courageous defiance of those who try to spread hatred and division. On that night love clearly triumphed over evil.

Some of the speakers, including Pastor Susan, reminded us that we are kin (cousins). We are all beloved of God. The same God created all of us. Some speakers lamented the fact that, like some families, we only come together in times of sorrow and tragedy. It’s time for that to change.

In an era where the opponents of love and unity among all people are present and vocal, we must stand together as faithful people and say “NO”. We are all kin and we will not be separated by hatred, fear and misunderstanding. Susan encouraged those present to reach out to each other and say “hello!” It seems simple enough. We should take her suggestion and hope that such a simple greeting will be like a snowball rolling down a hill. May our love and affection for one another grow as we get to know each other better. Let us commit to finding times other than vigils to come together in unity, fellowship and prayer.

We are not called to stand alone in the face of this damaged world. We are called to stand together with courage, purpose and love. We stand together because we need one another.

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

God bless those who suffer because of their beliefs. God bless the families of the victims and all who were impacted by last week’s shooting. God bless this community and inspire us to walk together as kin.

May we find the courage and humility to stand TOGETHER.

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