Hostility, fear, violence - Reflections 6-12-18

  June 10, 2018

 Third Sunday after  Pentecost

 Genesis 3:8-15
 Psalm 130
 2 Cor 4:13-5:1
 Mark 3:20-35

 It was ironic that the week I was so rushed that I couldn’t get a devotion written was the week the texts focused on sabbath. Can’t say God doesn’t have a sense of humor…Sorry to have missed it.

This week, the first lesson from Genesis 3. It is the origin story of why, regardless of good intentions, things go awry so quickly in our actions and relationships. Have you ever asked that about humankind? Or maybe about someone you know? Or maybe about yourself? What is it about us that means we choose do to the unhelpful, unkind, downright awful things we regularly do? 

The message of grace, however, is that God loves us anyway. God did not smite/kill the two in the garden – heck, God didn’t even smite the snake. There were hard consequences, yes, but that didn’t stop God from loving the creation that came from God’s hand. And later, working Christ’s reconciliation in it.

This past weekend I wore an orange t-shirt for #wearorange, National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I wore orange because I do believe that we can end gun violence, at least much of it. It will take work and conversation, courage and hope.

Fairly early in its existence, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (of which Gloria Dei is a part) met in assembly and created a message that we are a church committed to society for the sake of all, addressing situations from disasters to social policies.  One of the ways we respond is through “moral deliberation”, especially of difficult social issues facing society. Moral deliberation means that “the way we talk and with whom we talk is critical” and that we especially need to be conversation/deliberation with those who may disagree with us. We also need to be sure to include “the voices of those who have particular interests at stake or who suffer from the consequences”.

Now is the time - it's past the time - to get started in our churches and communities on deliberations about gun violence. Gun violence is increasing each year; doing nothing isn’t an answer. We need to talk to each other with respect. We need to hear each other with respect. And we need to remember that when things go awry in the conversations with our neighbors, we can confess our missteps, and try again. God moves us toward continuing reconciliation with others (and creation, and God, and ourselves).

Here’s a final thought from another message, this one on community violence, written by the ELCA in 1994:

Before God, we all are in captivity to sin, and in need of God’s mercy. Some have committed acts of violence. Others have been sinned against through acts of violence. Still others are overwhelmed by fears of violence. In proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, healing, and new life, the church addresses the ultimate root of violence. Through his death, Christ broke down the dividing walls of hostility, fear, and violence between people, reconciling us to God and one another (Eph. 2:13-17). 

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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