As I have been carefully crafting the outline for what I plan to do with this blog, the very thing that prompted me to start it continues: violent events cutting short the lives of God’s beloved children. People doing their shopping shot by a man whose only motive is hate. Children shot by a man in the classrooms that are supposed to be places of growth and development. What is it going to take for the human race to learn that violence only breeds more violence. Hate breeds hate. Love is the only thing more powerful than hate and violence.
The answers are not simple. I know that it will take more than just changing our laws. The true nature of the matter is the value we place on human life. Some stand up and scream about saving the lives of unborn babies but do they scream as loudly and passionately about saving the lives of children sitting in a classroom? We put metal detectors in school doors and train our children with intruder drills and develop bulletproof backpacks and arm our teachers. But what can we do so we don’t have to treat our school campuses like war zones?
The one thing Jesus said almost as often as he talked about love, is “do not be afraid.” He didn’t mean that there aren’t many events in this world that are frightening. He didn’t mean we should ignore that which is dangerous. He isn’t telling us to pretend we aren’t afraid. Jesus means that fear is not what we let guide our behavior. Love is.
Fear prevents us from seeing the greater good of all. Love works for the greater good so that all are able to flourish in God’s Kingdom. Fear excludes. Love includes. Fear is about self-preservation. Love is about the abundance of life in God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven. Fear paralyzes. Love empowers.
Love is the answer. And I don’t mean the hallmark version. Active love that respects the dignity of all people, wants the best for the greater good, and seeks actively to ensure every single human being flourishes in this world. Living in a posture of defense and fear is the opposite of love.
There are so many ways to love each other in the aftermath of tragedy. Donate blood. Give to reputable agencies that will help the survivors. Volunteer with these agencies. Pray together. Learn about how to offer mental health awareness training in your parishes and public places. Write your congresspersons and other officials. Support organizations like rawtools.org that turns guns into garden tools. Host a civic discourse workshop in your community.
Together, as we follow Jesus, we learn to love better and better each day. We are created by the God of Love in Love and for Love.
Holy and Loving God, you seek us and we speak your name in praise and honor. Love is how we reveal you and your Kingdom to the world you have given us. Give us what we need for this day; we trust your faithfulness to provide for us tomorrow. Help us to follow you in Love so that we are not misdirected by fear; your love is stronger than evil. Amen.
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