On the Second Sunday of Advent, All Saints rector Ed Bacon climbed into the pulpit to preach the homily at Lessons & Carols — one of our most beautiful and beloved services of the liturgical year. He began that homily with these words: This morning while we were in Sunday morning worship, my wife received a call from the mother of Shannon Johnson, a victim of the San Bernardino mass shooting last Wednesday.
Shannon’s mother is my second cousin with whom I went to high school. Our mothers were first cousins. She was calling to ask me to go back to our home town of Jesup, Georgia to officiate at Shannon’s funeral next Saturday. I spoke with my cousin this afternoon, agreed to be present and we began some of the preparations. I tell you this at the beginning of this liturgy of Advent Lessons and Carols as a way of being present with you and as a way of noting what is at stake for me in these remarks.
In the congregation Sunday night was David Horsey — Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and columnist, now writing for the L.A. Times. Inspired by Ed’s homily, Horsey drew this cartoon and wrote this column for the Times. Entitled “Defiant hope amid the darkness of the San Bernardino terrorist attack” it includes this summary:
What he offered was hope. Not the hope of simple optimism or upbeat platitudes, but hope as a defiant act. A hope that confronts the bleak shadows of terrorism, murderous ideology and inhumanity with no expectation that anything will be easy and the certainty that more suffering and sacrifice will be demanded. A hope based on the belief that human beings, created in God’s image, will, in time, assert their true compassionate identity against those who have betrayed the better angels of their nature.