Friday afternoon, as the horror in Paris unfolded, I was glued to social media – not just because I wanted to understand what was happening, but also because dear friends of ours are in Paris, celebrating their anniversary. While I was desperately trying to contact them, I saw an amazing parallel story unfolding: People in Paris took to Twitter with #PorteOuverte, which means “open door,” and offered shelter to those stranded in the city by the attacks. In the middle of an unspeakable tragedy, people opened their hearts and their homes to strangers.

Pastor has often reminded us that in times of tragedy, when people ask where God was, we must tell them that God was there in the people who reached out, the people who carried on, the people who did not allow their faith in all that is good to be diminished. Even in the moments when evil looms so large, we must not be overwhelmed. The people of Light must blaze even more brightly when the darkness rises.

We cannot harden our hearts: We need to open them even wider, to offer the refuge of God’s love to those wounded by fear and pain. As Bishop Erwin wrote yesterday, “We must not let a small group of violent fanatics shrink our world (and our work) to what is small and ‘safe.’ The most powerful and enduring response will be to live on, without fear, opening ourselves to new people and new experiences whenever we can. The tragedy is real, but so is our love. And love is greater than death.”

As we pray for the people of Paris and all those impacted by this act of terrorism, let us not waver in our commitment to love, truth, and peace. Let us keep our doors, our hearts, and our minds open to the Word of God, and to His call to love and service.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:37-39