Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Response to 11/13/15

Before I saw the charcoal sketch of 
the Eiffel  tower in the peace sign,
or the line drawing of the Statue of
Liberty hugging the Eiffel tower, 
I cut out paper hearts and stuck them
 like tears to a lamp. Not elegant or
 memorable, but helpful all the same.
For all my pastor friends out there struggling to
start a sermon or
adapt a sermon or
decide whether or not to
rewrite the sermon they wrote earlier in the week:

In a world where

a Lebanese father tackles a suicide bomber in Beirut (and the detonation kills him and his little daughter but saves hundreds) and his heroism goes largely unnoticed in the western world;[1] 

 a U.S. police officer’s death is ruled a suicide [2] but, before the facts were known, ex-law enforcement people and pundits blamed “Black Lives Matter” rhetoric[3];

Sikh gurdwaras in Paris open their doors to stranded tourists[4] but the American Cathedral in Paris closed for the day[5];

a Missouri student protests racism on campus by going on a hunger strike[6] and on the same campus, athletes use their power to bring about a university president’s resignation[7];

an Illinois student who is transgender is finally allowed access to the appropriate restroom and a city councilor 2,000 miles away[8] responds by explaining violence is the solution to transgender and Muslim problems;

and people who treat the internet as their pulpit call for killing/deporting/locking up Muslims, despite Christianity’s history of violence across continents, cultures, and centuries;

meanness, fear, ignorance, and spectacle seem to rule the week
and our ordinary tasks of ministry are dwarfed by the world’s sadness.

So I remind myself and you that our call as pastors is
to preach the gospel;
to tell the Jesus-stories full of courage and confusion and challenge;
to lament with the families of the fallen in Paris and Lebanon;
to sing hymns with hope and determination;
and to show by our words and our walk
that God’s love rules our hearts this week
and all the weeks to come.