Laurence responds to current events, including the shootings at the mosque in Quebec on January 29 in a sermon on Luke 6:1-10. In that Gospel story a Roman Centurion reaches across the divide between the conquerors and the conquered. Jesus reaches back, heaving the slave of an enemy of his people. This enemy turns out to be compassionate, and respectful of the community among whom he serves the Empire.
These were the Words for Meditation offered to the congregation before worship on Sunday:
To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege. It is a kind of blasphemy. Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What God says at such times is: “Not in My Name.” ~ Rabbi Jonathan Sachs
Laurence quotes the Imam of the Imdadul Mosque in North York. These are the Imam's words as he preached to his congregation last Friday morning:
For, though we are grieving and many in our communities are afraid and feeling victimized, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not come to teach us to be paralyzed by our fears or to wallow in self-pity, or to be mouthpieces for grievances. He came to teach us how to heal and how to be healers, how to respond to ugliness with beauty, how to be fully human in times of ease and in hardship.