A Pastoral Letter From Father Tim Cherry, Rector
June 3 , 2020
A few years ago, a former military colleague was called up and sent back to the Middle East — almost 20 years after our first trip there. When I asked him about his second trip after years between them, he said simply, “Same war. Same waste. Same insanity.”
As an old police chaplain (who also has served in areas with ugly racial histories), I don’t minimize or dismiss this week’s barrage of issues and events. I simply ask you to consider them from another angle.
1. Many of us may feel as if our world suddenly is going sideways — or even upside down — whether we are bothered most by injustice or civil unrest or craven politicians. (Yes, a pandemic followed by riots represents particularly stressful timing, but that is a topic for another day.) If we feel as if the world has changed, it may instead be a sign that our own personal world to date has been relatively blessed or safe compared to others.
2. Despite whatever progress we assume humankind has made to date, we still live in “the world” — which remains a realm in which *every* flicker of goodness competes with corruption or violence or chaos in all its forms.
That is a spiritual claim, independent of our political views or opinions.
3. Our real world is not a TV episode, where shallow platitudes or easy answers suffice after a 23 minute program. We still have brave and selfless police officers, as well as abusive ones. We have peaceful protesters, as well as criminals who seek every excuse to burn and destroy. We have grieving and hurting fellow citizens, alongside master manipulators who use anyone and anything to advance agendas.
I bid your prayers for all our leaders at every level, including ones you may dislike or disagree with. That is a valid and traditional spiritual discipline. They all now face tough decisions and conflicting needs.
At a deeper level, I also borrow from what a nun shared with me years ago about her unique vocation to pray as a way to help “ground the violence” in the world. That means that while we are not seeing anything new at all (“Same war. Same waste. Same insanity”), we each can add our prayers that in any moment even a single person — known only to God — can make a choice to not throw a brick or fire a round or break a window. We all can do that, whether we hold any office or position or opinion.
4. If you have a specific job or opportunity that requires unique discernment, I am happy to hear more in private. Otherwise, I am quietly staying in touch with those whose judgement I trust to remain vigilant regarding issues touching us at Apostles or in Coppell.
As with COVID, I will continue to share what seems germane and helpful, without a constant stream of priestly commentary.
Jesus overcame the world, the flesh, the devil, and even death. So we always pray and serve as those with Hope — no matter how confused or conflicted the world around us may seem.
*Please contact the office if you would like to join a small “prayer cell” of 4-5 people praying privately (and remotely) for each other.* Other parish related items will follow this week via separate message.