Some weeks ago there was yet another mass shooting. Robert Bowers murdered 11 souls at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. He was then found and taken to the hospital. And as Robert was being wheeled into the emergency room, he yelled ‘death to all Jews’. The nurse caring for him felt those words painfully in his heart. The nurse knew the synagogue well because his parents often worshiped there. And so while deeply worried that his parents were two of the victims of this killer, nevertheless this Jewish nurse decided to care for this enemy, silently. And when the media asked why he hadn’t refused care because he was Jewish, he said ‘When I looked into his eyes, I didn’t see evil – I saw confusion and fear. I cared for this man because I wanted him to feel compassion, to feel love, and I wanted him to feel it from a Jew.’
In our gospel reading this week (Rev. 21) we hear that the New Jerusalem, our future earth, is built of precious stones. But what could be more precious than freely given love in the face of fear? What could be more foundational for a true humanity then a compassionate heart standing before his enemy?
Dear friends, just like the Jewish nurse, we too can create love in the growing anxiety and fear of our times. For every deed of compassion and love that comes to light in this darkness creates a precious stone, a spiritual stone that will become the firm foundation of a new earth.