This past Sunday (November 29, 2015) while preaching I said this:
I was sitting in a barber chair on Friday. The shop has multiple televisions to watch while your hair gets cut. The news was on. The shooting in Colorado was being updated with live coverage.
The stylist said, “Oh no, what’s happening?”
I said something like this to her, “Another shooting today. There will probably be another terroristic action tomorrow followed by some type of unrest on a university campus on Monday, followed on Tuesday by another refugee type of crisis and then it will all start again….and I’m an optimist.”
I received a text from a dear Christian brother who is a prayer warrior who said, “Pastor, you said on Sunday these words. There’s been another tragedy with 14 who have been killed.”
This is saddening and maddening.
Saddening because people who went to a local center were killed and injured.
Maddening because violence seems more and more rampant.
Some ask me what I make of all of this.
Frankly, I don’t know what to make of it. It is reminiscent of a Bible verse that overtly shares the mind of God on these matters:
I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth - God (Genesis 6:1
God hates violence.
God hates gun violence. God hates violence committed in the womb. God hates domestic violence. God hates parental violence. God hates sexual violence. God hates violence against other ethnicities. God hates indiscriminate violence. God hates knife violence.
God hates violence.
And here’s part of the rub:
We kind of like violence.
We like the hero who goes in and shoots up the bad guys.
We like violent video games.
We like demolition derbies where cars get pulverized.
We like the big hit in football that jars the receivers mouthpiece out.
Evidently there are some who like it when a fetus gets aborted.
We like the it when we bomb an enemy back into the stone age.
To be clear, military actions are needed and necessary at times, that doesn’t mean we have to like them or rejoice in the deaths of others.
On a very too personal note, I remember shedding a tear over Saddam Hussein’s death, not because it wasn’t just - it was, but because of the ignominy connected to the execution.
It’s the same types of tears I shed wherever hearing of the Kuwaitis that were gassed to death at his hand…
The same types of tears shed wherever hearing of brothers and sisters in Christ or peace loving Muslims being executed in various regions due to people bent on violence.
The same types of tears shed for the millions of unborn who are ripped apart in their mother’s womb.
The same types of tears when a death row inmate is executed not due to the justice exerted but because a human life is extinguished.
The problem isn’t surgical tools, knives, guns, ammo, electricity, needles used for injections, fertilizer, gasoline, or any other inanimate object.
The problem lies with people who are bent on violence.
Now, as ever, these words need to be reflected and lived out in our world:
And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Am
Would you join me in praying for “Peace on earth, goodwill to men”?
Would you join me in praying the world become a place where the God of the universe is worshiped? Where the God of the universe who who charges us to “love one another” is obeyed?
This Sunday, we move into a new series called, “Simple Christmas.” The bottom line idea is that we: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. As believers in Christ, our Lord came in a very simple way. Somewhere along the line, we’ve taken Christmas and turned it into a self-absorbed consumerism frenzy. We can all make it so much more…by keeping it simple.
And we want to help equip you in this direction. We start this Sunday.
Saturday, December 12 we are having Christmas at Forum starting at 5 p.m. There’s a petting zoo, musical elements, stations for family photos, the partnership with Angel Tree families, and some after performance hot chocolate and cookies. It’s going to be a fabulous evening.
Praying for all of us to have a happy, joy-filled, simple Christmas.