Here’s a really amazing story.
The Los Altos Hills Church of the Redeemer, which is an Eastern Orthodox Christian church that has a large number middle eastern parishioners was burned to a rubble a few weeks ago. After examining the site, the police determined it was deliberately set. An arsonist had done this.
I have a lot of sympathy for this group, since my church is going through that stage of church growth known as ‘the building fund.’ We’re trying to get enough money to build our own church. I know that the Church of the Redeemer went through the same process, with the members of the church sacrificing and giving their money for the purpose of having a building.
But their building was burned down in one night, from an apparent act of hate. It makes me sad and frightened.
The police still have not captured the arsonist. I’m sure that the parishioners are struggling to come to terms with this tragedy and make sense of what has happened.
Well, my church, St. Innocent’s Orthodox Church of Fremont, took up a collection for that church, and we all signed a card expressing sympathy and solidarity. My godmother took it over to the church, and brings back this report:
“The church was almost totally burnt, of course, especially in the altar
area where one of the fires had been set, but Fr. Samer had managed to
salvage a few items. One was the altar gospel. It’s metal cover was
melted and twisted away, ,many pages had been burnt off, and what was
left was one charred, almost fused, lump. But there were a couple
lines of writing clearly legible on the top page of the Bible. These lines
were from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-41): You have heard
that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. But I
say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you
on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue
you and take your coat’ let him have your cloak as well; and if any one
forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles…
Of course, the next lines would be about loving you enemy, etc.
The parishioners of Church of the Redeemer consider this a message from
God, telling them how to react to their tragedy, and comforting them.
I’ll tell you, this Bible is really a powerful and shocking sight,
reminding us how powerful, and radical, Jesus’s words were.”