Eleven people were murdered in a house of worship last week. Several were holocaust survivors. Let that sink in.
Saturday marked the 294th mass shooting in the US in 2018. Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined, with some 11,000 people in the US killed in firearm assaults each year.
Colleges. Elementary schools. Newsrooms. Synagogues. Churches. Street corners. Train stations. Living rooms.
This is NOT how we are to live with one another. In fear. Filled with hatred. Distrust. Animosity.
When our daughters were growing up, they knew the rules. They followed the rules. Because they knew that the severest discipline was meted out when they hurt each other. Because that is just not the way of love. It is not the way of peace. It is not the way of those who follow Christ.
The button in the picture, above, is from GenOn Ministries, which you may know/remember better as Logos, that midweek ministry for children and youth held every week during the school year, to help kids (& adults!) learn and practice what it means to be a child of God. Because when we practice something, we get better at it. We learn what not to do, what not to say, as well as how to respond in kind and loving ways. Kids wanted to come to Logos, because it was a safe place to be. A fun place to be. A place filled with love and forgiveness and joy.
How can we instill this in our children? How can we help our adults along this path?
We do so by our example. By not launching a knee-jerk response (either in person or on social media!) when we feel wronged. We do so by choosing our words carefully. We do so by our actions. Because others are watching us. We do so by coming to worship, being reminded we are not ourselves the center of the universe, and that God has a greater, and better plan for us than the one we think is best.
All of us need to do this better. None of us is 'there' yet. "We are pilgrims on a journey, brothers, sisters on the road. We are here to walk the mile, and bear the load." ("The Servant Song", Richard Gillard, 1977) May we do so with grace, and dignity, treating all we encounter as beloved children of God.
I continue serving in Christ,