Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy
How many times must we turn to one another and ask that the violence stop? Race and violence in America is a problem. That is an understatement. Gun violence continues to strike at the heart of our nation and yet, the idol worshippers of Moloch insist on feeding our children and their future to the Gun god. Lay down your sword. Do not give your allegiance or your hearts to those who divide, hate and insist on violence. There is no way to peace, peace is the way as the Fellowship of Reconciliation chants it. Below is a compilation of statements made over the last few years that speak to these issues.
The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
~Frederick Douglass, 1852, “July 4th?”
Dallas Police Officers
Our nation is in the grip of madness, a violence stoked by a variety of groups and individuals from right wing radio talk show hosts to hate groups. Our Congress refuses to act while the citizens of this country are armed to the teeth. Legislation is important. Community policing is important. As, or more important, is a change of heart, what the bible calls repentance. As we mourn yet more lives taken from their families and friends, we pray that a spiritual awakening ensues and we turn from violence as a solution to our differences and our problems. Christ have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Gun violence in America is a scourge. Had an invader killed as many of our citizens, we would be demanding a declaration of war from our Congress. Instead, we hear the NRA talk about the “right to carry and conceal” and our Congress cowardly shirk before the Gun sellers. Had a virus or plague killed as many, we would demand the CDC and other government agencies coordinate a multi-pronged effort to arrest the virus and find a vaccination. Instead, we are subjected to lies and half-truths about the Second Amendment.
It is not patriotic to stand by as fellow citizens are murdered and wounded.
It is immoral, even if it be legal, to sell assault weapons.
Jesus told Peter to put up his sword. Christians, stop supporting the blood soaked NRA. Start asking your congresspersons to pass sensible laws that register and control what can be sold. Gun shop owners, stop selling assault weapons. Put away your guns. We are reaping the whirlwind.
This Sunday, February 7th, begins our observance of Black History Month. Pastor Bledsoe will be speaking on the topic, “History As A Weapon of Defiance” (a reference to an excellent essay by Drew Gilpin Faust, “John Hope Franklin: Race & the Meaning of America, “ New York Review of Books, December 17, 2015). An excerpt from that sermon to be delivered:
Our city was recently buried beneath more than 20 inches of snow in two days. It wreaked havoc and continues to interfere with commerce and transportation, weeks after the event. People comprehend this. It is not complex. How is it possible then for our nation and in particular, for Christians, to pretend they cannot comprehend how the effects of slavery, lynching, terrorism, segregation, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and untold suffering continue to destroy Black lives? Slavery and White Supremacy have been apocalyptic catastrophes. Hence, we need a Black History Month to plow through the blizzard of lies that not only sustained these systems but continue to this day to erase, injure, and destroy.
Join us in worship Sunday as we tell the truth boldly about who we are and as we embrace across the chasm of human alienation and despair and find one another, made in the Image of God; and as we dedicate ourselves to protecting one another, loving one another.
~See you Sunday
For those of you who attended Sunday services the first Sunday in 2016, for those of you who asked and for those absent but interested, you may find my sermon, “A New Year’s Day Enchiridion,” on the sermon page. We have begun another year, celebrating Christ’s birth, sharing in holy communion and worshipping God together. This is an auspicious beginning and one we want to carry through in the weeks and months ahead.
Despite the broken world with its violence and ideological hatreds, we are called to love one another. You might be able to do this all on your own but I doubt it. Love is communal and is thus in need of a community. We need you and you need us. May God meet us at this point of mutual need and transform us into those who heal the world instead of those who harm it. Grace and Peace to you and yours in 2016 +
~See you Sunday