In the midst of all the difficulty, exhaustion, disappointment and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have also been incredibly brilliant moments of human kindness and achievement. I’m still moved to tears when I think of the Italians singing from their balconies in the hardest days of their lockdown back in the Spring.

It’s been pretty amazing to see how some of the creatives have pivoted and reimagined how to bring people together around art in a time when we are not able to gather.

This is a beautiful example of that.

My friend, Shelagh Tyreman, participated in a virtual choir production for Choral Canada’s National Youth Choir of Canada alumni this summer. The song, “All of Us,” from the work Considering Matthew Shepard (Composer: Craig Hella Johnson; Text: Michael Dennis Browne and Craig Hella Johnson), speaks to the fact that it is only in love that humanity has any hope. And that it takes all of us, living in love to make life what it ought to be.

Matthew Shepard was a young, gay American whose violent murder in 1998 prompted hate crime legislation in the States. His life, and tragic death, continue to inspire works of drama, documentaries, and songs and other pieces of art.

I am especially moved by these lyrics:

Most noble Light, Creation’s face,
How should we live but joined in you,
Remain within your saving grace
Through all we say and do
And know we are the Love that moves
The sun and all the stars?
O Love that dwells, O Love that burns
In every human heart.

“All of Us,” from the work Considering Matthew Shepard (Composer: Craig Hella Johnson; Text: Michael Dennis Browne and Craig Hella Johnson)

Friends, there is no nobler impulse than love. There is no greater purpose to life than to live it in love – love of others, love of the created world, love of the One who created it all, love of the One who laid down his life for ours.

And while I absolutely want to honour the original inspiration for this song – the right of all people to live free of hate crimes regardless of sexual orientation – I also think it is incredibly poignant for this moment in the pandemic. As case numbers rise, it will take all of us. All of us choosing not what we might want, but what is the best, kindest, most loving action to keep others safe and healthy.

But here’s the thing – we all have the power to make a difference. We all have the power to change the course of the Fall and Winter. I encourage you to use the power you have to make a difference. It will take all of us.

Dear friends, until tomorrow, be united in love.