By now I am sure you have all seen the news about the terrible, terrible, mass shooting in Las Vegas. Are not are hearts broken? Are we not in deep and profound grief over the slaughter of the innocents? Are not our souls in anguish for these poor families and friends, a broken community, and our very nation plagued by irrational violence?
No doubt there needs to be a rational and sensible national discussion on how we can make our communities and the innocent safer. I don’t have all the answers, other than the conviction that the one thing we can’t do is to simply despair and say “there is nothing we can do.” In my mind this would be both un-American and un-Christian. There is always something we can do. We can pray, of course, and not just for the comfort of the afflicted, but also that our own hearts be conformed to the will of God. Perhaps the question is not, “what should we do?” but “what would God have us to do?” We can pray, we can grieve, we can work together, and most importantly, we can more profoundly dedicate ourselves to being God’s Church in the world, doing God’s work. Rules and regulations are important and necessary. We need traffic laws, for example. We need speed limits and traffic lights. But it takes the Gospel to turn road rage into a heart of compassion.
Obviously there is anger and evil intent out there. There is family violence right here in our own community. There is neglect of children and broken hearts very near to us. God’s work is no less than the transformation of hearts, souls, and lives, marriages, families, communities. When we say that our mission is “to make disciples for Jesus Christ,” this is exactly what we are aiming for. Not making members. Not “growing the church.” But the miraculous, difficult, challenging, exciting work of God that takes murderers like Paul and turns him into an Apostle for the Gospel.
And so friends, here we are. This is our time, our challenge. As others who have gone before us and had to face great depressions and world wars, let us now face our time with courage, cooperation, and devotion. Let us as a church not be seduced by the temptations of spending our energies on the wrong things or the more minor things. “Majoring in the minors,” as they say. Or thinking that there is nothing we can do. This is a great church with great members and great resources. The Lord is calling us to this time, and let us be found faithful.
Always proud to be your pastor,