As I last posted on this blog, when immediately faced with the news of the terror and tragedy in Orlando I could do nothing but sit in the silence of mourning and grief. Words seemed insufficient (and frankly still do). But certain words must be spoken…and in worship a few weeks ago I spoke, trying to come to grips with what happened and how we, as the Church, are called to live in response. I spoke from the heart and with the moving and leading of the Spirit, so I actually don’t have a record of exactly what I said and neither did we record my words…but I did want to share a few themes of which I spoke. First, as the Church we must assert that there can be no place for either homophobia or islamaphobia in the Church. As the people of Christ we are called to be a people of radical grace, love, and inclusion. Secondly, in the face of terror and violence we are never called to be people who respond in kind, with similar hatred or violence. Instead we are to be people shaped by the cross of Jesus and willingly enter into the suffering of others. Thirdly, we are called to be a people of hope – and trust me, there are times when our hope is challenged and obscured by tragedy. We hope in God’s redemption in and through Jesus and hope in God’s ongoing mission to bring about the Kingdom of God on this earth, and as the Church we are called to join in with God’s mission of establishing love, grace, mercy, faith, and (yes) hope on this earth. I recognize these words are insufficient, but I offer them first to God and secondly to you all and pray that God would be glorified. As I said during our worship service, I am completely open and would invite anyone who wishes to, to come and speak with me further.