From The Pastor’s Desk
June 14, 2016
(This is a slightly edited copy of what I posted on Facebook Sunday. It represents merely my own opinion, of course, but I share it in the hopes that perhaps it may be helpful to some of you. That is my prayer.)
It goes without saying that we need to pray for the horrific tragedy in Orlando.We need to pray for the families, for the responders, for the medical community, for the survivors, for the entire Orlando community, for Florida, and for the nation itself. Our hearts are broken. We especially need to pray for those poor families who are suddenly planning funerals for their children and loved ones in tragic circumstance beyond comprehension. I cannot even begin to imagine having to go through that as a father, friend, or pastor.
Please let me take a moment just to say that as Christians, now is not the time to descend into despair, cynicism, and passivity, as if there is no God and nothing can be done, and its never going to change or get better. As Christians, now is not the time for hate talk, blame, finger pointing, or 20/20 hindsight, as if we could have prevented it if only we were in charge.
Instead, as Christians, now is the time for unity and commitment to the hard work of peace making. Please do not automatically dismiss this as simple, naive rhetoric. Remember that we Christians have been making saints out of sinners and friends out of enemies for 2000 years. Remember Paul, who started out as a destroyer of the Church and by grace became a saint, apostle, and writer of Holy Scripture. Remember that those who bombed Pearl Harbor are now our most faithful ally.
In the short run, we have to do what is necessary to protect our families, friends, and communities. We cannot be naive. But in the long run, we can’t simply go on endlessly responding to violence with violence. We can’t go on endlessly responding to hate with hate. There has to be a better way. And if anyone understands a better way, if anyone is equipped to transform human hearts, surely it is those who live at the foot of the cross, the ultimate symbol of the futility of evil against Good.
Such transformation will take hard work, perseverance, blood, sweat, tears, and probably several generations. But God is not dead, Christ is still risen, and the Holy Spirit has not left us. Kingdom work my friends. Holy work. The Church’s work. So. Let us grieve, let us cry, let pray, let us honor the innocent dead. And then let us get to work.
Grace and Peace, every one.