Pastor’s Pondering – July 20, 2016

Living in Hope…Living in Faith

There are no “safe places.”

     We all live and move and have our beings as “soft targets.”

People go to a bar where they can be among people

     who don’t look down on them or away from them

         or attempt to shame them or change them

               and they discover that one man’s hatred can endanger them all.

People go to a street celebration to join others in a national remembrance,

     people of national identity or travelers experiencing another nation’s identity,

         and they discover that one man’s hatred can endanger them all.

Hatred, whether it’s because of ideology or theology,

     whether it’s because of prejudice or politics,

        whether it’s on our soil or on the soil we visit,

               has the tremendous power to bring grief and loss to all

                   who are at hatred’s “ground zero” or

                         those who are anywhere on the “ripple path” of its damage.

How do we live in a world where hatred is such an ever-present intrusion

     into our lives that are so striving for harmony and community and peace?

How do we live under clouds of fear that threaten every decision we make,

     every path of travel we take, every person we encounter along the way?

How do we live when we are so quickly and so often brought face to face

     with death and destruction and disaster?

The answers are not easy, and they are not cheap, but they come from scripture

     and have come through the pain and suffering, the deaths and danger

         that the writers of scripture came to hold dear by the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome (in the midst of turbulent times of fear and persecution):

     “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 

         If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.

              So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

The first question of “The Heidelberg Confession” in the PCUSA Book of Confessions reminds us:

      1.  What is your only comfort, in life and in death?

      2.  That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—

               not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ

These words, held onto for centuries by people of faith,

     are the words that have held onto people of faith for centuries.

         They may be words that give us hope and courage and love

               in the midst of life with all its uncertainties and all its certainties.

         They may be words that help us face the temptations to fear all who are not like us,

               to return evil for evil, and to hate those who appear to hate us.

           They may be the reminders we need to cherish the lives of all God’s people

               and continue to celebrate God’s good creation.

Just pondering…Peace…Lynn

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