From the Pastor’s Desk
As I write, my mind is still numb and my heart heavy from the violent events that have taken place across our beloved country in recent days: A man in Kentucky, finding the doors of a black church locked, went to a nearby Kroger and shot two black people. A deranged man in Florida sent bombs in the mail to certain wealthy political donors, politicians, journalists and news media offices scattered across the country; then came the shooting at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh – Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood! Mr. Rogers lived and raised his family just a couple of blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 Jews were killed and 6 others were wounded – including courageous police officers. All of these horrifying incidents have one thing in common: hate.
There’s an antidote for that: LOVE. God created all of us – ALL of us – in the image of God, whose essence is love. God commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves. (We’re not just talking about the folks who live door.) God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. And Jesus showed us what love is as he welcomed, healed and transformed people from all walks of life, and then suffered and sacrificed for all of us. The night before his death at the hands of those whose hate would kill him, Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) That’s what we disciples must be about every day – perhaps with renewed consciousness and intentionality right now, if we want to counteract this spreading virus of hate that seems to be infecting our country – even Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be the antidote. So, practice kindness and gentleness. Think before you speak. Offer hospitality. Show tolerance and civility. Agree to disagree. Be grace-full. Live the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt.7:12) – including those who don’t look, speak, believe or vote as you do. Love is stronger than hate. Let us love one another as Christ loves us, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.