The Last Word : A Response to Charlottesville

Virginia

 “I have decided to stick to love. For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems…. He who has love has the key to ultimate reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I find myself in a turmoil this past weekend.  The events in Charlottesville, VA have disgusted and angered me in two ways.  Disgust for the vision of separatist hate that the fascist right proclaims and anger for the violence perpetrated against those protesting peacefully against these voices of hate.

It’s difficult to watch what happened in VA and not be troubled at how much our country has changed in the last decade and also in how it hasn’t changed very much since the 1950’s.  Hate and violence seem to be the answer to every problem. Or worse, indifference and dismissiveness.

Having seen what we have this weekend we must take a stand.  We must say “NO” to hate, “NO” to violence and “YES” to love and “YES” to nonviolence.  And we must do so in the face of abject hatred and terrible violence just as the protestors of the neo-nazi, white supremacy, alt-right groups were doing, before being mowed down by one of them.

“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16 CEB

Now is not the time to be lukewarm.  It is a time for passion and desire.  For what?  For justice, for righteousness, for equality, for love.

Those who hate have decided now is the time to reveal themselves.  Let us look them in the eye without hoods covering their faces and speak love to them, speak the gospel message to them, speak the coming kingdom of God to them.

Their time is limited.  Jesus has already vanquished hate and death.  In His resurrection, we have love abundant for all.  And that is the last word.

Dear God, you are almighty.  You are all loving.  Help us to love during this time of turmoil we as a country are facing.  Help our individual hearts seek peace from you.  Help the leaders of our country to speak peace and love not hate and violence.  Help us as Christians to lead in our Savior’s footsteps of nonviolence and righteous understanding.  Amen.

Meditation Monday: Conflict In The Church

Conflict In The Church

Conflict In the Church

“Wherever two or more are gathered in my Name, I am there also.”

Often times this verse is used outside of its context. It is usually applied to validate worshipping together. However that is not the situation Jesus is talking about when and where he acknowledges God’s presence is manifest.

Verse twenty is an assurance given by Jesus to those who are in conflict with each other, those brothers and sisters who feel “sinned against.”

Before he reassures us, Jesus lays out a step by step method on how to interact with one another in struggle.

  1. Go directly to the person
  2. IF there is still conflict, bring along fellow believers.
  3. If that fails to resolve anything bring the matter before the whole church.
  4. If the issue persists, let go of that person’s sin.
  5. Know that God is with you from the beginning.

There are several assumptions this plan of Jesus’ makes.

  1. Conflict in the church will happen. Believers will hurt one another.
  2. People must approach one another with love.
  3. A reminder that we are not solitary beings but social creatures.
  4. Forgiveness can come even if you don’t get the apology you want.
  5. God is with us in the pain.

In the coming weeks let us guard in our hearts this message of reconciliation and love.

Dear God, while we may argue with one another, let us do so with positive affirmation and not from a place of hurt and competition. We are a community of people, each enmeshed with one another in a fabric woven by God. Even if we cannot reconcile our difference, we can still acknowledge the faith of one another and sit down to a meal together. And, God, thank you for being with us in the midst of conflict. Let us not forget to behave accordingly with grace and love. Amen.

Meditation Monday: Send Me

Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964. LC-DIG-ppmsc-01269
Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964. LC-DIG-ppmsc-01269

 

“Use me God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 NIV

Send Me

In the most difficult conversations, sometimes it is we who must step forward first to listen. It is easy being the one to talk–especially if there is any passion in the discussion. It is much harder to sit and listen to another’s zealous conversation on an issue without the thought of responding but solely to listen.

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