The weekend of May 18-20 was a study in the contrast between love and hate, good vs. evil.
On Friday, hate prevailed as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, walked into the school’s art complex with a shotgun and a handgun and began shooting at his fellow students.
In the end, 10 people were slaughtered. Another 13 were wounded. Pagourtzis was taken into custody following a shootout with police.
Cable news stations almost immediately began broadcasting from the scene. Subsequent broadcasts throughout the weekend showed and re-showed the footage of students fleeing the building and crying through interviews by reporters who had rushed to the school.
The next day brought a bit of relief from the horror and carnage as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom was broadcast live on various TV channels.
On that day, love prevailed.
The moving homily by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, at their wedding had the cable TV news broadcasters buzzing with praise.
His theme, “The Power of Love,” began with quotes from the Bible’s Song of Solomon and from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the saving grace of love.
Curry then focused on love in all of its forms — and what it can accomplish.
“If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved,” Curry said. “There is power, power in love — not just the romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There is a certain sense in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right.
“There is something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love. And our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself.
“There is power in love. To help and heal when nothing else can. There is power in love to lift up and liberate, when nothing else will. There is power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart. A seal on your arm. For love, it is as strong as death. But, love is not only about a young couple. The power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we are all here.
“Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up!” Curry said.
This is what the Santa Fe High School students, their families and friends needed to hear at what must have been the most devastating time of their lives.
Madalyn Williams, a senior at Santa Fe High School, was interviewed that weekend by a CNN reporter.
Williams, even though some of her friends had been murdered, came to the interview following a baby shower she just had attended.
The seemingly incredulous reporter commented on the pin Williams was wearing — a pin representing the baby shower.
Williams’ response shows a maturity beyond her years.
“In this time of so much mourning and grief, there is still time to celebrate the life that we still have.”
And, yes — “There is power in love. To help and heal when nothing else can.”