Is there a time capsule in the church cornerstone, located by the Church Street entrance? There has been speculation off and on during the past months as various people have contemplated it, which bears the date of 1893.

Just in case there was something in it, and to preserve the cornerstone itself, we asked the team that is preserving sections of our ruins to also extract the cornerstone.

On Thursday, January 11, members of the Altar Guild, plus Alex, Clay, Carol, Robert and Jim Mills were at the church preparing for the move. About 3pm, there was a loud yell from Barbara Hays, urging us all outside. Turns out there was an opening on the bottom side of the corner stone, and a metal box inside!

We were all like kids on a treasure hunt who had just found the treasure. We carefully brought the box inside, and George led the team, using a variety of tools to try and access the box that appeared to have been torched shut. We all crowded around George, texting folks who live near by to come witness the opening of the box.

Inside we discovered: a copy of the Washington Post and the Washington Star from that day in 1894, a collection of coins from 1894, Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal, Bible, sermon, bulletin from the dedication of the cornerstone, and a few other treasures.

A letter from our priest in charge….

Dear people of St. Thomas’s parish,

As a spiritual leader, there are times when you struggle with what to say to your congregation; and this is one of those times. Along with many of people across the country, I watched the results for our presidential election. There is a deep divide in this country that has become abundantly clear over this election. In this process of major change, people often become fearful.

I am now fearful for those still on the margins of our society, including my own family. It is not only me that I am worried about though. The rhetoric in this campaign has led me to believe that certain races, genders, and cultures are in real danger. It would be easy to let our fear of the future overcome us, but we are people of God.

As people of God, we are bold enough to believe in a defiant hope. Lutheran pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Webber says that, “hope has a defiant quality.” This hope that may seem foolish to some when all the forces of the world seem to conspire to tell us otherwise. The simplest and hardest thing to believe is that the darkness will not overcome the light.

Theologian Craig Koester adds, “From an earthly perspective, evil can seem so persuasive and even unstoppable. But from a heavenly perspective – evil and darkness – rages on earth not because they are so powerful but because they know they have already lost.” Hate and fear will not win.

As those who follow Christ, we have a choice on what we will do next. We will remind each other of this defiant hope and to not let the darkness overcome the light. We trust that no matter who people voted for, we are all made in the image of God. We cannot escape this world, but we can work to transform it. We hold onto a hope that God’s dream can be realized and, despite all evidence to the contrary, the arc of history will bend towards justice.

I do not know what our future will bring for this country. What I do know is that at St. Thomas’ Parish, we will continue to reach out with an even greater fervor to those who will be on the margins. We continue to make God’s radical love known here on earth.

We will gather today at 6:00 pm for a special Eucharist. We will share words of comfort, break bread, and pray “your will be done on earth.” Whether you can make it or not, pray for our nation. Mourn what could have been, and then let’s join together to work for justice for all of God’s children.