It might be just me, but it seems as if our world is going haywire. Perhaps, within our own neck of the woods things have remained mostly calm; then again, even Dallas hasn’t been immune to the hatred-fueled violence that has gripped our world as of late. From Nice to Rouen, Baghdad, Istanbul, Brussels, Munich, Baton Rouge, and Dallas; our world has been recently been turned upside down. And I wonder, “Why?”. I wonder, “What can I even do?”. I wonder, “What can our church do?”.
Perhaps the most difficult question of all to answer is, “Why?”. For almost everyone in this world, contemplating the ruthless slaughter of fellow humans is almost unfathomable. What kind of intense hate can lead someone to do such things, much less what kind of hate can lead so many separate people to do such things on an ongoing basis? I believe we can grasp at an answer in part, and then have to make peace with not knowing in part.
My mom is a wise woman. I was speaking with her about all of this recently and she said to me, “David, I’m not sure I want to fully understand why all these things are happening. Because if I fully understand why these things are happening then I will understand fully the hate that these people carry. I don’t want to know hate like that.” Maybe it is a good thing that we wonder “Why?”.
That said, we must not shrink away from the reality of evil in our world. If there is anything we need to learn this year, it is that the evil in our world is very real and those who live in hate and seek to steal, kill, and destroy are growing more and more bold in their words and in their actions. Like a modest fire, which then had gasoline poured on it making it into a raging inferno; so too has evil and hatred in our world been allowed to grow. It has been unintentionally fed and nurtured by those who sought to fight fire with fire, only to see the inferno of hatred and violence grow out of hand. It is time for a more excellent way.
Friends, I believe that it is time for the Body of Christ to take a stand together. For so long, many of us have been passive observers of the things that have been happening all around us and our places of worship. We pray, which is a great thing; but there have been times when we have done little with our prayers. We wait, we wait for God to do something about all of this. We look toward heaven and hope for miracles while we avoid looking too deeply at our world and the chaos that is breaking loose abroad and at home. And justifiably, it is so difficult to know where to begin when the problems seem so large, but begin we must.
It is easy to feel that there is nothing we can do about all of this that is happening on the world stage when we are so far removed. But we can indeed act, and act we must. God became human in Christ, and came to our world to heal the sickness, conquer the sin, and destroy the death that we were living in. Because God left heaven and went out into our world, we must too. Even without leaving Comanche County we can make a difference if we live through our words and actions, the Gospel of Christ. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s Kingdom comes on earth when we live in it; but it is a choice we must make each day.
This all begins with me, and this begins with you. Paul writes in Romans 12 that we must not allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, but we instead must overcome evil with good. We can no longer allow our world to feed the inferno of hatred, violence, and evil with more of the same. Where hate is sown, we must sow love. Where lies are spoken, we must speak truth. Where destruction has torn a path, we must build and plant. Where violence has had its day, we must heal and care. Where evil lurks in the shadows and darkness, we must shine the light of Christ.
May God's Grace and Peace be with you,
Rev. David Ray