In the preceding chapters, we have attempted to explore the extent of violence in our lives, our understanding of it and potential ways for people and communities of faith to respond to it. Our journey has been extraordinarily painful as we reflected on so many lives lost. Our journey has been challenging as we tried to grasp violence in all its terror, in all its particularity and in all its tears. And, our journey has given us a glimpse of Resurrection’s promise for lives restored. Our hope is that you will engage in this conversation and embrace a path of forgiveness and reconciliation that both recognizes people’s pain and invites healing.
As we encourage your engagement, we are especially mindful that you may have been a victim of violence yourself. And so, it seems appropriate that we conclude with the perspective of a victim – a woman of faith, a woman of grace and a woman still struggling with the assault she endured. Shug Goodlow’s Christmas Eve experience on Christ Church Cathedral’s parking lot should challenge each of us. It also should summon us to reach out to all who are most at risk for committing violence or being its victims and organize our communities’ resources to care for them. May God enable the “better angels among us!”
Postulant for Holy Orders, The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and
former Head Verger, Christ Church Cathedral
St. Louis, Missouri
THE REV. ANNE KELSEY
The struggle for victims of violence to make sense of what they have endured is complicated, difficult, and can be a long process. Violence has long-term implications for an individual, a family, a community, and even a nation. Since its earliest years the Christian community has been called to recognize, as St. Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth, that when one summers, all suffer. So when one needs healing, all need healing, but each is on a unique and singular journey. The color yellow is the brightest in the visible spectrum and the one most readily seen by the human eye. It is the color of the sun and implies light, energy, and new beginnings. The gingko leaf caught in the branches of a pine represents both hope and struggle.