There’s a lot of pain and anger and hurt in the world right now.
Ferguson police killing an unarmed teen and the resulting chaos. Robin Williams’ depression and suicide. Religious genocide and beheadings—beheadings!—in Iraq. Continuing war in Gaza. Civil war in Syria and millions of displaced refugees. Abducted and forgotten girls in Nigeria. And so many, many more that I’m forgetting or don’t even know about.
Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.
How long must we sing this song? How long, Oh Lord?
So Now What?
The question we must ask, as Christians, as church leaders, in the face of all this suffering, is what do we do? How do we communicate the hope and love and grace and mercy and forgiveness and peace the world so desperately needs?
People are hurting this week (like every week). How is your church helping?
The very foundation of our faith, the reason we gather as believers, is that we have hope in the midst of despair. The world is in the midst of despair right now. (The world is always in the midst of despair.) The world, your neighbors, your Facebook friends need to see and hear a message of incredible hope.
They need to see our hearts breaking when their hearts break.
They need to hear our cries for justice when they cry for justice.
They need to feel our love when they feel so unloved.
These are things we must communicate. Again and again. How else will the people hear?
And we need to do so in more than words, but in action. How else will the people believe?
The Church in Action
What gives me great, great hope this day, is that the church is already at work.
A Washington Post reporter was arrested and in the midst of his account is this little nugget:
Eventually a police car arrived. A woman — with a collar identifying her as a member of the clergy — sat in the back. Ryan and I crammed in next to her, and we took the three-minute ride to the Ferguson Police Department. The woman sang hymns throughout the ride.
We are also seeing pastors showing that black and white can come together and be unified:
1 of the reasons I lead a multiethnic church (@TC_Transformers) is to show the world Jesus can bring different people together 4 His glory!
— Derwin L. Gray (@DerwinLGray) August 14, 2014
And there are calls to let us grieve together.
Just two miles from an ISIS battle ground a Christian is spreading a message of forgiveness.
In the aftermath of Robin Williams’ death…
We are breaking the silence on mental illness. Church leaders are urging sensitivity—suicide and depression are difficult issues, much more than a sermon illustration. And we’re hearing stories about the work churches have been doing in their communities.
A church opened its doors to Muslims fleeing from the fighting and seeking refuge.
So let’s pray…
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
…and get to work responding to the many needs.Photos by Internet Archive Book Image.