Sermon for a sad Sunday at St. Peter’s, Ellicott Mills

The Rev. Kirk Kubicek, co-rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, delivered this sermon yesterday morning. St. Peter’s is the church at which a mentally unstable homeless man shot and killed co-rector the Rev. Mary Marguerite Kohn and parish administrator Brenda Brewington on Friday, and then killed himself.

Here is an excerpt:

Brenda and Mary Marguerite were doing the Lord’s work. They were serving the Lord directly. “When I was hungry, you fed me…” Like nearly every day of the week, Brenda was leading a profoundly hungry person to the Food Pantry. In the matter of just a few moments it was all over. We will never understand it. We will never understand it no matter how many reports come out of the Howard County Police Department, who have served us all faithfully and well, we will never understand it.

But we do understand this. We come from love, we return to love, and love is all around. Brenda and Mary Marguerite have returned home. They have returned to the heart of Love, the eternal center of God’s very Being. Their time with us magnified the sense of God’s Love being all around us every moment we spent in their presence. Individually and together they represented the fruitfulness of God’s vine – they are precious fruit of God’s love. And now they have returned home to the heart of God’s love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God”, writes the First Letter of John. I know, standing beside the two of these faithful women who have been taken from us too too soon, day after day, year after year, that if there is one last desire in both of their hearts it is this: that we love one another as God has loved us. They know this because they listen to his voice. And his voice says, “The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” 1John 4:21

It is their commitment to serving their brothers and sisters whoever they might be, and believe me if you spend any time in our office you eventually see every kind of brother and sister there is, that sent them home to the heart of Love. We will never know why, but we do know they and the man they were serving are with the God who says, You are my Beloved – with you I am well pleased.

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