Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Remembrance

Where is God in the midst of tragedy?
 12 November 2017
Remembering the Saints in the Sutherland Springs 1st Baptist Church Shooting

Sutherland Springs, TX. A tiny, one-horse town. With only one stop light.  The 1st Baptism Church. You’ve never heard of the place. You could have hardly found it on a map.  Until last Sunday. Now it’s a part of our nation’s fabric. 

Where is God in tragedy? Where He always is: in the crucified Christ, where He displays His love for all humanity. He makes our grief’s and sorrows and sins His own; and brings us through death to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.[1]
Says the Psalmist David, “I cry aloud… that God may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. [From Psalm 77]
Yet, we can’t be completely comforted because a very evil act was committed against innocent people. And if we, as a country, and a faith community are troubled, we can only imagine the depth of pain for those who were involved, and for those whose lives have been forever altered.
We should not be too quick to expect people including ourselves to feel “better” after a tragedy. As Christians we must also recognize that this is, at the heart of it all, a spiritual battle with what the apostle Paul calls, “principalities and powers” which suggests that we are locked in combat with a force that does not want to be controlled.  And that gives us a clue as to what; our unique contribution can be at times like this: Prayer.
There is one particular prayer that Jesus teaches and models. It is remarkable part of Christian faith and life. It’s the prayer of Stephen as he was stoned and of Jesus on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It is one way we obey Jesus’ command to love enemies, even murderous ones—whether they target us or those with whom we sympathize.
Lord, we pray… for those who hate us and those who love us.” Those words might not come easy. For it is something that which does not come naturally to us: loving our enemies—and the enemies of all those we love.
But it would shape us. To become a people, to be Christ’s presence in a hateful and divided world—a world that needs to know of His presence more than ever.
While we can never explain away the unexplainable or make sense of the senseless, we need to be there for our family and especially for our children in tangible ways. Parents, remind you children again and again of your love for them and of Christ’s unfailing love for them as well. This is an opportune time, even at a time like this to express the compassion of Christ.
When tragedy strikes Christ remains. This is nowhere more clearly than in the cross of Jesus, where God was joined to the fullest human experience of loss - suffering an unjust and cruel death -- out of love for us. God is present - not causing chaos but entering into it. Not sending calamity by suffering through it. Not standing over us but holding tightly onto us and promising never to let go. Wherever there is human tragedy and pain, the incarnate and crucified God is there.  
We do not know what condition our nation and society will be tomorrow, or in the future. But we do know where Christ will be from now unto eternity.

Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” –“ The cross stands while the world spins.” While the world appears to be breaking apart all around us, the cross of Christ stands strong.  We are not given to panic but to pray. So continue in the vocation, which God has placed you. Bloom where you are planted. Gossip the gospel. Stay focused. Be a blessing.
Words – 650
Passive Sentences – 12%
Readability – 75%
Reading Level -6.2

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