November 7, 2017
“Fear of death
can no more stop us from our pressing here below.
For our Lord
empowered us to triumph over every foe,
On to victory now we go.”
“Every day to
us is Easter, with its resurrection song,
When in trouble move
the faster to our God who rights the wrong,
See the power of heavenly throngs.”
People, Raise Your Voices” by William James)
Grace to you in Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our
Brokenness, and Hope of the World.
The news was heart wrenching. Lamentably, it wasn’t anything
new. It took a matter of a few seconds; and when it was over, twenty-six
innocent people were killed, including a 17-month-old child. About a week
before that it was New York City, and the victims were bikers and
pedestrians enjoying a spring-like day. This time, it was Sunday morning
at a Southern Baptist Church in a small town not unlike the towns in
Pennsylvania. Once again, we were left distraught and heartbroken. If a
church service isn’t safe, then where are we safe from acts of terror or
individual retributions? There are no right words to say to relieve the
pain and the frustration from the families, friends, and communities of
the innocent victims.
Not everything that happens in this world is the will of
God. We know that too many things happen against the will of God.
However, let’s be assured that God is present in this tragedy. God weeps
as we weep; and God comforts the brokenhearted. Through the saving
actions of doctors and nursing personnel, the response of the emergency
personnel, and the local faith community, God’s gracious presence of love
and care is there. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are
directly affected by these horrible acts of terror and those who care for
Jesus Christ is the Healer of our brokenness and Hope of the
world. The Prince of Peace will sustain us. Ultimately good will triumph
over evil. God will have the final word. We are to remain committed to
working for healing, hope, and peace with justice. I pray that this is
not yet another opportunity wasted and that we will join together to
find potential solutions that could help mitigate the harmful situations
that seem to perpetuate everywhere without an ending in sight. There must
be better gun control that would be rational and understandable to ensure
safety for all.
Some of you may know that I once served on the staff of the
Northeastern Jurisdiction Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry. Rev. Dr.
William James was the executive director, and I was privileged to be his
associate. I find great comfort in his hymn, “Easter People, Raise
Your Voices”: “When in trouble move the faster to our God who
rights the wrong.” Ultimately our hope is in our God who brings
resurrected life out of death by making all things right as it is in
heaven. God’s people, keep the faith.
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