Gray ended his sermon by telling the story of Robert E. Lee in his parish church after the Civil War: When, during a celebration of the Eucharist, a black man made his way to the altar rail, the congregation hung back and left the man at the rail alone. Lee rose, walked to the rail, and knelt beside him to receive the bread and wine.
Gray concluded, “This great man set a standard which has never quite been forgotten by the South. It is to this standard that we must now repair. For it will be through countless small words and deeds, done in the name of Christ by Christians, that this University, this community, and this state will yet redeem themselves for the tragic events of last Sunday and Monday.”
One parish member, Patricia Young, remembered the sermon well. “It was the most wonderful I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It changed my whole perspective on things. It made me realize a lot of what the prayer book means when it talks about sins of omission as well as sins of commission.”