By Lynda MacFarland
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
~Matthew 28:19a, 20b
Today’s Gospel acclamation is one portion of the reason for our hope as Christians: Jesus is always with us. He is directing His followers, including us, to tell of our redemption and eventual everlasting life because of His passion, death, and resurrection (the other part of the reason for our hope). The love of God should spur us on to do whatever He tells us. And we should live with the confidence that sure hope brings; we should act accordingly. What will that look like?
What if we all loved with the love with which Jesus loves? What if we allowed the love of God to so permeate our hearts, our very beings, that all we can do is will the good of the other, as other? What if we could share the love our Triune God bestows upon us with our enemies, with those who persecute us? What if we could share that perfect love with those who don’t look like us or think like us? What if we looked at everyone as our beloved brothers and sisters, as the children of God they are? What if we boldly share our faith in that Triune God with everyone who doesn’t know Him?
What if we were the light of the world that Jesus calls us to be?
To quote a famous believer and follower of Jesus, who loved until the end, which came too soon for him, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve been thinking about all this and remembered the above quote because of the terrible events of the last few weeks – the mass shootings in New York, Wisconsin, North Carolina, California, and Texas – deaths and injuries of individuals who did not deserve to be murdered. Actually, in our faith, no one does. The world lost some precious human beings who were not threatening anyone. And yet, in each instance, there was another who, for reasons that I cannot fathom, decided to harm them, so much so that many precious persons lost their lives for no good reason.
I grieve for the loved ones of these victims and for their communities, who cannot understand why this happened or how it can continue to happen with alarming regularity across our country. I pray for a new day when everyone knows the love of Jesus Christ, and everyone can love their neighbor as themselves, can love with the love with which God loves.
This little light
I honestly don’t have words to convey how sad I am because of all this senseless violence in our country and the world. But the hope that is Jesus is still within me, burning like a tiny candle. He lives, He is with us, and He will bring us Home with Him one glorious day.
Lord Jesus, help us to love and not hate, even those who deserve our anger and whose actions are deserving of condemnation. Help us to love and pray for the conversion of hearts that are cold, hard, and without compassion for another, hearts without respect for the dignity of others, and hearts that do not respect human life. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours. Do not let evil beget evil. May those who seek justice for these egregious offenses against You and humanity find justice. Help us shine Your light on the lost, the confused, the angry, and the frustrated. May they come to know You and so know that they are loved, that they are loveable. Comfort the families and communities who mourn the loss of their loved ones with Your peace & grace. Lord, have mercy on us all. We beg this in Your holy and precious Name. Amen.
Call to Action
Be kind to one another. Be compassionate toward those who suffer and patient with those with differing points of view. Seek God’s mercy and grace. Smile more. Pray more. Love more. Remember and remind others that God is with us. Even in the darkest moments. Perhaps God is with us most intimately then. Proclaim the Gospel and “await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Don’t ever forget that He’s coming to take us Home.
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