Pastor John's Daily Briefing-8/27/2020

Pastor John's Daily Briefing-8/27/2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


We are living in a time of crisis, a crisis of inciting and inflaming intentional hurt and vindictiveness. It is not and cannot be reduced to a crisis of black and white, of conservative versus liberal. Those categories are only surface symbols of a deeper crisis. And that crisis is the crisis of good versus evil. And we must ask ourselves as Christians, where do we stand or fall on that spectrum?


The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans counsels the Christiam community to "not be conformed to this present age, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect" (12:2). Paul believes and understands that the Christian community, because of the living presence of Christ in their midst and by the power given in the Holy Spirit, in their discernment of God's will are now capable also of discerning and distinguishing that which is good versus that which is evil, and so he writes, "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good" (12:9).


I am neither trained nor sufficiently proficient to speak thoroughly about criminal justice matters and societal reform related to governmental policy and enforcement. But as I hold on steadfastly to my faith, to my relationship with God in and through Christ Jesus, I can take heart that as part of the Christian community's historic and continuing discernment of God's will and through the living presence of Christ Jesus in and with this community of faith, the distinction between good and evil has come and continues to come to the light. 


Evil is present and active when any human attempts to dehumanize another in voice and action. Evil is present and active when any human is dehumanized because of skin color, country of origin, language spoken, or lifestyle chosen. Evil is present and active when excuses are made that try to diminish the reality of the problems and troubles some face because of the dehumanizing tactics of others. Evil is present and active when many and sometimes most resort to silence at the abuse suffered by others. Evil knows what it is doing; evil gives no quarter to political preferences  and symbolic references, but it relishes in division and discord. Evil thoroughly enjoys the company of hate and deception.


The other day I overheard a person in our community use the n-word in a demeaning and derogatory fashion, meant to instill fear and hurt, the word aimed at another member of our community, a child. My initial emotional reaction sent me back to my adolescence where I thought that all problems could be solved by fighting, fists raised in anger. But then Jesus seemed to take hold and I wanted to weep in shame and embarrassment for what I heard in the community I love. I spoke up, and merely shared the hope we can all have because of the way Jesus lived and died for all of us. If looks could kill....


We as the church, the body of Christ, need together to discern the will of God in our time and place, and to call out evil for what it is. Silence and inactivity in the presence of evil gives furtherance to evil's intent. It is time for humility and harmony (12:16). It is time to take seriously the manner in which we understand Jesus' death on the cross and what it means for all humanity. It is time for hate of all evil, and an end of the hate that we may have for one another.


Be constant in prayer and keep hope!   Pastor John