Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – Colossians 3:12
Good morning, friends. Peace and blessings from Wake Forest in North Carolina.
I can’t begin writing today without reference to the terrible mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday evening. There is very real danger that we become inured to such events, that we begin in some sense to accommodate ourselves as if this is some kind of new normal.
Likewise, Maria in Puerto Rico followed Harvey in Houston and also Irma devastating Florida. Too often, events that completely shatter people’s lives far away are less impactful than a minor power outage in our neighborhood, or a traffic jam on our way to work, or a forty-five minute wait at the walk-in clinic.
So I’d like to pause, right here, and suggest that – first – we first pray for Las Vegas, and Texas, and Florida, and Puerto Rico, and that we follow up with some kind of a concrete contribution to help address the misery being experienced by our brothers and sisters (click here for my favorite aid agency, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance – PDA).
Love and Light:
Interestingly, conversation in my Sunday morning class revolved around what practical measures we can take as followers of Jesus – both to minister to the pain we see in this world and to take a stand against the darkness.
It’s critically important that we understand how darkness works. Not so much in terms of disaster (hurricanes, floods, fires, tornados, and earthquakes) but hatred and evil (terror attacks, persecution, prejudice, injustice, mass shootings, war, inhumanity etc…) Darkness works by sucking more darkness, bitterness, hate, vitriol, evil, animus, revenge, hostility, venom, rancor etc. into the black hole of malignancy.
But we do not, we cannot, we will not defeat evil by responding to it in kind. The only effective intervention to end darkness is light. The only way to overcome fear is through love. The only way to effect positive change is via positive means.
Gather Together and Shine Brightly!
So here in Wake Forest, we gather together as a community of light. We celebrate the defeat of darkness, and we shine as brightly as we know how.
Then, we charge one another to take that light out into the world and to start some fires; or, more accurately, to be light in such a way that other lights are ignited. So that, rather than being absorbed into the black hole of separation from God, we stand in the light and disrupt the darkness.
Here is my invitation. You don’t have to agree with every detail of what it means to be a Presbyterian Christian in this challenging world, but we would like to stand with you in the light. So join us for worship (especially if you have lost your interest in doing church), and then also join us in the proactive day-by-day initiative of being light in dark places.
Our only response to a dark world is the opportunity to shine. So shine already!
That’s my Monday morning prayer. Won’t you join me?
Peace – in every possible way – DEREK