The world seems to have turned a violent corner. Problems are resolved not with discussion or even debate but with name-calling, personal attacks, threats and ultimately violence. There are those who do this even in Christianity. Orlando, Florida has had its share of tragedies lately with a mass-shooting at the focal point. A pastor in Sacramento said that the tragic massacre in Orlando was a good way to resolve a problem, at least a problem he had with those who he considered irredeemably sinful. I was deeply saddened to hear someone use the pulpit for sentiments I believe are so far from the way Christ calls us to respond to tragedy. How do we keep it all in perspective? Historians tell us that in spite of the tragedies, the conflicts and the wars, we are living in one of the least violent and least dangerous periods in history. The violence and tragedy of today are amplified by the cycle of 24-hour news channels and the rapid dissemination of information via the internet and handheld smartphones. Today, the majority of people die from old age, as opposed to periods in history when great violence and death was a daily occurrence. That doesn’t justify violence, nor does it make it less disturbing. As Christians, our response to all violence is vitally important, to our faith and to the world which is carefully monitoring how people of faith respond.
Talking about responses to tragedy, our youth are making plans to travel to San Marcos, Texas to help with the cleanup, rebuilding and landscaping repair from the floods in both 2015 and 2016. Three adults and eight youth will be attending. I ask for your prayers to surround us all in this endeavor. We will commission our missionaries in the 11:00 service on July 3, the day before we leave. Please support them with your presence.
See you Sunday, if not before.
Grace & Peace,