We are Christ’s church. We have been entrusted with God’s story, to claim that story and share it. God’s story is a story that runs counter to the conventional wisdom of our society. God’s story—God’s dream for this good creation—is a story where the stranger becomes the neighbor, not the enemy. God’s story is one where love casts out fear. God’s story is the story of the unquenchable perseverance of light in darkness. Most importantly, God’s story proclaims the promise of redemption and the victory of life over death.
This is from a recent letter by Synod Bishop Mary Froiland, sent shortly after the rash of killings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas. And there has only been more violence since.
From the rhetoric of politicians to terrorist acts around the globe, we see increasing suspicion, contempt and anger across racial, religious, class and political lines, and “the conventional wisdom of our society” seems to be that we must polarize even more into groups “like us”, even taking up arms to defend our rights and our dignity.
That is assuredly not the message of Christ’s church. Our Savior came into a world of similar divisions and distrust not to conquer and control, but to pour out his very life so that we might be forgiven, healed and made new. In turn, empowered by his example and his living presence, we are called to live out that selflessness, that humility, that peacemaking which transforms the world by love, not by force.
It is good, of course, that we pray for our strife-torn cities and our war-scarred world, but that is not enough. If our own hearts and minds aren’t permeated with Christ’s vision of reconciliation and new life, how can we hope to reach others with that message? We must practice these things in our own lives if we are to inspire their repetition in the lives of others.
Our kindness and patience to family members, our commitment to our brothers and sisters of Two Steeples Parish and fellow congregations around us, our graciousness to friends, neighbors and co-workers, our service to our community—these are reflections of who we are as the people of Christ and what we want the Kingdom of God to look like among us. By these practices, may we live in that “unquenchable perseverance of light in darkness” and truly point God’s way to “the promise of redemption and the victory of life over death.”