The Tragedy in Orlando
Gerard Moultrie died at 56. For a man who lived in the middle of the nineteenth century, that was reasonable life span. In that time he wrote:
Let all mortal flesh keep silent, and with fear and trembling stand;
Pondering nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.”
These words came to life in what is known as the liturgy of St. James. In 1860 it was set to the melody of Chansons populaires des Provinces de France, to become Eucharist Hymn 324.
As I began to write this morning of the shooting in Orlando, Hymn 324 began to play, shuttled to life from my iTunes mix. It was sung a cappella by a group of nuns called Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. “Let all mortal flesh keep silent” were the words that issued forth. They were words that gave me space to sit with the sadness of this tragedy, this crime. Where prose fails, poetry in music sometimes prevails; at least enough to give the soul space to mourn. Forty-nine lives were snatched from this earth by the machinations of a madman, compelled to evil actions by the fuel of hateful ideology. When confronted by such evil, often the immediate impulse is to action—to react, to respond quickly to fill the hole the loss creates. The risk is that this void gets filled with hate, and rather than healing, the wound inflicted becomes infected, and then metastasizes, and evil wins.
Music pushes the impulse back, letting the space remain empty long enough to be filled by the tears of those who grieve. Grief matters. The shooting in Orlando gives us much to grieve. Forty-nine lives lost—at least to us. They will all see God face to face. Some will melt (maybe away), others will gasp and then shout “Alleluia!” Who will respond how? We have no way of knowing. All we have is the space left, the grief. And while it is unlikely any of us knew any of the deceased, grief still haunts us like a ghoul with a scythe. The specter of being caught in an attack like the one that took place in Orlando or San Bernardino or Columbine or Aurora or Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook can give us pause or panic, which is of course the hope of such terror.
My prayer for us is that our first response is music and poetry. They have the greatest capacity to push back the impulse toward anger or fear, and instead compel silence. Listen. Let music and poetry pay homage. Then stand, trembling, in the sure and certain confidence that you are loved, that you will meet God face to face, and that when this happens, however and whenever it happens, you will gasp and shout “Alleluia!”
In the face of this grief and tragedy, be kind to those you love. Share with them your confidence that when the veil of death separates you from them, even as they grieve, even as they weep, they too can shout “Alleluia.” God’s love, in the end, prevails. Don’t miss a moment to experience it now.
And then, as your soul settles, and grief moves to completion, consider this world that allows this type of evil to persist. Consider ways you can step up and fight back. Maybe it is being an advocate for Grandmothers Against Gun Violence. Maybe it is by getting involved in ecumenical dialogue with Muslims. Maybe it is volunteering to teach English as a second language, or teach a child to read. Action is required.
Peace be upon your souls. Know that I pray for you, and am here as your companion on the way.
A Message from Iyad
This week I received the following note from our regular guide in the Holy Land, Iyad Qumri. He has led our trips there for several years and will do so again for our next one, scheduled for December 28, 2017–January 10, 2018.
Dear friends in the USA,
While we here in the Middle East have had to face violent events from time to time, we remain sensitive to the shock and grief which comes after violence anywhere in the world. Hearing the awful news from Orlando of the worst mass shooting in your nation’s history, please be assured of our prayers for comfort and peace for all your citizens.
We’re Still Collecting Snack Food Items for the VBC Service Project
Vacation Bible Camp this year is food-themed, and our children will learn that our food comes from God and human hands, God provides food for the hungry, and we share what we have. You can help as we prepare for our camp service station: Donate SNACK FOOD that we will package into “to go” bags for our Operation Night Watch Men’s Shelter guests!
- individually wrapped granola bars or energy bars
- small bags of chips or crackers
- apple sauce pouches
- small bottles of juice or water
- other snack items
There is a box in the Epiphany office for food donations. Please bring donations by July 1! Thank you!
—Elizabeth Walker, Children’s Ministry Convener
Celebrate the Foster Family and Todd’s Ordination
Foster Family Bagel Brunch
Todd, our new curate, has started work, but his family—Becky, Aviva, and Elisha—will be moving to Seattle in the next week or so. Let’s welcome them to the Epiphany family with a bagel brunch between the 8:45 am and 11 am services on June 19 in the Great Hall.
The Ordination of Todd Foster
Todd Foster is now ready to be ordained into the priesthood! The parish is invited to a service of ordination at St. Mark’s Cathedral at 7 pm with a reception to follow, Bishop Rickel presiding. Your prayers and presence would be a blessing. Todd will preside at all four services on June 26.
Upcoming Music Guild Recitals
The Epiphany Seattle Music Guild is hosting two upcoming recitals this summer, celebrating a new acquisition for the chapel—a 1901 Hamburg Steinway.
Solo Lecture Recital with Peter Mack
Sunday, July 10, at 6 pm in the Chapel
Peter Mack will offer a recital on the 1901 Hamburg Steinway piano, lecturing and teaching between pieces.
Chamber Music Recital
Sunday, August 14, at 6 pm in the Chapel
Pianist Byron Schenkman will be joined by Joshua Romatowski (flute) and Nathan Whittaker (cello) for a performance on the 1901 Hamburg Steinway piano.
The Annual Family Camping Trip
Alternative to Loud Jets 2016
On August 6 & 7, join other Epiphany families for a camping trip in Belfair State Park on the Hood Canal. There are adventures to be had—tide-pooling and kite-flying—as well as new friends to be made! It’s the same weekend as Seafair, so if you think the Blue Angels are too loud, this is the perfect opportunity to get out of town, although at least one family sees the Blue Angels and still comes camping. Mark Rossow holds the reservation, so let him know if you’d like to come! Dinner on Saturday and a pancake breakfast on Sunday will be provided for the group.
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
June 19, 2016
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
June 19: Welcome the Foster Family Bagel Brunch
Let’s welcome the Foster family—Todd our new curate, Becky, Aviva, and Elisha—into the Epiphany family with a bagel brunch at 10 am in the Great Hall.
June 21: Ordination of Todd Foster
Having been a transitional Deacon in the Episcopal Church and called to Epiphany as a Curate, Todd Foster is now ready to be ordained into the priesthood. The parish is invited to a service of ordination at St. Mark’s Cathedral at 7 pm with a reception to follow. Your prayers and presence would be a blessing.
June 26: Information Session for a Pilgrimage in England
George Moberly would like to lead a pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury in England some time in the spring of 2017. If you think you might be interested in a trip like that, come to the Great Hall at 10 am for an information session. You can also read more about his idea and his previous experiences here.
June 29: EfM Information Session
If you have ever thought about participating in Education for Ministry (EfM), please come to an information session in the Christie House Library at 6 pm to find out more about how four years of study in scripture, theology, and church history can enrich your life and faith. EfM begins on September 12. If you have questions, please contact Robin Mondares.
July 1: Summer Concert Series – Scott Lindenmuth Trio
We’re kicking off this year’s summer concert series with a jazz trio led by Scott Lindenmuth, described as a “genre-crossing guitar virtuoso.” Bring a picnic and enjoy some sun and some music in the courtyard at 6:30 pm on Friday evenings in July.
July 5: Vacation Bible Camp Begins
Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) at Epiphany is a place for all ages to experience God’s love in a safe and welcoming environment. Activities include Bible storytelling, crafts, games, chapel, music, and service on the theme of “Taste and See: God Is Good.” Find registration information and volunteer opportunities at epiphanyseattle.org/vbc.
July 8: Summer Concert Series – Brass Band Northwest
Wanna be blown away by tubas and cornets? Come hear the Brass Band Northwest, a lively all-brass ensemble with percussion. Bring a picnic and enjoy some sun in the courtyard at 6:30 pm on Friday evenings in July.