The past week has held 72 hours of pure, unadulterated hatred. There is a pervasive pall of evil hanging over the world that has us gripped in its oppressive tentacles, and there appears to be a deep silence of moral authority powerful enough to speak healing or light into the darkness. The church itself is too wrapped up in its own wars to speak or do what is needed.
I am almost certain that others will join me in writing eloquent statements against violence and hatred, rightly speaking of the sacredness, dignity, and basic understanding that all life has a worthiness that is stamped by the creator. However, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve collectively sold out our birthright for a mess of religious and political ideological porridge.
I am tired of playing the blame game. This is a darkness that lies at ALL our feet: conservative, liberal, progressive, moderate, Democrat or Republican.
No human life is worth sacrificing at the feet of my political party, or even my religious beliefs. It will take a collective voice that is willing to lay down the evil of polarizing thoughts, actions, or words with a willingness to “strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” - 1 Corinthians 12:31.
When will we stop feeding this darkness? I write these words not just in response to the latest shootings, including one in our own area (the Kroger shooting), but in response to all the senseless killing, evil, hatred, and injustice around the world. I am reminded of the words of another “drum major” for peace who said, “We must all learn to live together as brothers (sisters) or we will all perish together as fools.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
Peace starts in the heart. Before kingdoms change, people must change. The work begins in you my brothers, my sisters, we are all victimized by such callous acts of cowardice and violence.
In the Western Pennsylvania Conference, where Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue took place, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has “called on all United Methodists to be in silent, reflective prayer for 17 minutes for the next seven days.” During this time of prayer, she urges her readers to “not suggest to God what you want God to do to bring about change. But rather, I urge you to listen to God so that God can reveal to you what to say and what to do in order to provide comfort...” You may read more of Bishop Moore-Koikoi’s statement here.
We are also hurting in Kentucky after Wednesday’s horrible attack. I ask that you not only pray for those who were mercilessly struck down in Pittsburgh this weekend, but also for our families and communities here in Louisville who were also victims of an unconscionable act of violence.
I pray that our call to action will include these words: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” - The Talmud