Yesterday the village of Randolph, in western NY, woke to the results of a wave of vandalism and graffiti on buildings and landmarks all over town.
“Some was just malicious,” said Rev. Tom Broad, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church, but some were clearly “a cry for help.”
One of the most shocking of the “cry for help” variety was spray painted in blue, foot-high letters across the face of the building of Grace Episcopal Church: “Can I still get to heaven if I kill myself”.
Was the person who wrote this suicidal or just being shocking for the joy of provocation, an adolescent equivalent of a toddler learning he can cause effect in his world by shouting, “No!”?
The people and clergy of Grace prayed and talked, then decided it did not matter, at least not today. They also discovered that being angry, or feeling violated, or even scrubbing and repainting the wall were not the most important things they could do today.
Instead, they spoke to the unmet need of those around them. They answered the question. They answered the shocking question, the “cry for help,” they found written in foot-high blue spray paint letters on the wall of their building.
In green spray paint, in foot-tall letters right next to the question, they wrote, “God loves you with no exceptions.”
By doing so, my friend Father Tom and the people of Grace Episcopal Church in Randolph also answered the implied question, “What do I need to do to be loved?” All that we need to do to be loved has already been done for us.