From the Rector
I know it’s the Friday evening of Halloween week, and the thing you may want to do most is have a quiet night in. But I very much hope you’ll find the energy to come back out tonight to attend either one of two sacred services.
First, tonight Transfiguration will conduct our annual Requiem Eucharist for All Souls’ Day (7:00 p.m.). It is one of the most beautiful services of the whole year, in which the music, prayers, readings, and sermon all focus on helping us remember those we love but see no longer. It is a solemn service, but it is also hopeful, for the service is rooted and grounded in our faith in the mercy of Christ, and our confidence that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).” So, if you still grieve for your own beloved dead, I hope you will join your prayers to mine tonight, and add their names to the list of faithful departed we will read in the Memorial Garden by candlelight.
Second, if the Requiem Eucharist is not something you feel called to attend, I hope you’ll help represent Transfiguration at this evening’s Shabbat service at our neighborhood synagogue, Temple Shalom (fellowship at 6:00, service at 6:30). Rabbi Andrew Paley has extended an invitation to us to join them tonight, and I would be so grateful to know that members of the Transfiguration community will attend. It is so important that we show our friendship and solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers in the wake of the murders in a Pittsburgh synagogue last week. For this latest horrific violence is part of a larger trend of rising anti-Semitic violence in our nation. While Jews make up only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, the FBI reports that they repeatedly account for more than half of the Americans targeted by hate crimes committed due to religious bias. The Anti-Defamation League identified 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017, up from 1,267 in 2016, and also reported a major increase in anti-Semitic online harassment.
The sad reality is that it is often confessing Christians who perpetrate such violence, and they are incited to their actions by Christian leaders who seem tragically unfamiliar with the life of the Jewish rabbi from whom we take our name. Sadder still, too many Christians have remained quiet in the face of this growing trend of hate, which has only served to embolden those who pedal bigotry for political advantage in our society. Which makes our living witness that much more important, and why showing up to a Shabbat service matters so much.
So, whichever service you attend tonight, your prayers are welcomed and needed. And this All Saints’ weekend, we remember that our prayers are joined by those of a great cloud of witnesses, the company of all the saints down through the centuries, who stand with us in asking God to make more fully known his peaceful kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
See you this weekend.