A theological editorial

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”  John 1: 5

I have said that every year on Christmas Eve during Candlelight Service. But it is beginning to get harder to sustain my belief that it is true.

I’m beginning to wonder if someone didn’t open the windows of hell.

I am beginning to struggle with keeping hope for a brighter future alive.

I know we have had hard time before. My parents generation witnessed the holocaust and Jim Crow and lynchings.  But now we have gotten so used to mass murder that it hardly catches our attention anymore. Has there been a time when evil seemed so omnipresent?

There have been 181 shootings in this country in the last year with four or more fatalities. That is a staggering number. While we were all shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Las Vegas, there was another mass shooting in Kansas that didn’t even make the front page. It is as if we lost our  moral road map.  When we “got over” the killings in New Town, we accepted mass murder as a part of the American landscape. Still, we do nothing about it.

I’m not talking about foreign terrorists now. These are all Americans killing Americans because of religion or racism or crime or for no apparent reason at all.

We are a divided people.  Hatred and fear are the most powerful forces sweeping across our nation. That’s how Donald Trump got elected. America first sounds so much like Germany in the 1930’s. We are them and us.  Our President resorts to name calling and blaming the media for reporting what is happening. He calls anything critical of him “fake news.” But his own words show him to be the most divisive force to hit America since the Civil War.

And it is not only the President. Members of Congress are so deeply in the debt of the NRA that they cannot bring themselves to to pass legislation that will make it harder to get high powered, military, rapid fire, automatic weapons.  Many of them sent their thoughts and prayers. But nothing will change and the mass killings will continue. ISIS doesn’t need to terrorize us. We are doing a pretty good job of that ourselves.

No citizen needs a bump stock automatic weapon.  Congress protects their own financial interest and hides behind the second amendment. And still claim to be Christians.  The Apostle Paul said, All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.”  You have the right as an American to bear arms. But the need to own assault rifles like the kind that killed 58 people in Las Vegas beneficial? Or are they born our of hatred and fear.

And so many in our nation now see Christianity or any faith as old fashioned or as a low priority. When Israel got to the point that evil was seen as acceptable and lies were called truth and people ignored their need for God and made ME FIRST the norm,  God was displeased and brought judgment upon that nation.  Isaiah said they had made a covenant with death. (Isaiah 28) Have we as a people made our own covenant with evil and self interest?

Still there are little glimmers of hope. There are still good people who want not only pray for victims, but to take courageous action to try and stop the madness. There are those who rush in to help in spite of danger. There are it seems to me more and more citizens who are tired of the same old excuses and party loyalty and are demanding change.

John Lennon said, “If the ending is not OK, then it probably isn’t really the ending.”  God, I hope so John. Of course John isn’t here to hear me, because it was too easy for a mentally disturbed person to buy a gun.

There are those who will not like what I have written here. They will say that I am “One of Them.  Is there any chance that we could ever be united behind real truth and Mica’s summary of how we are to live? “Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with God.”  Can we ever love ALL of our neighbors as ourselves in spite of our differences? Honest to God, I don’t know. But I still have hope.

In the midst of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln said  two things that are very relevant to these days. He said that he did not pray that God would be on our side. Instead, he prayed that WE would be on God’s side. Maybe that matters more than the second amendment. He also said, “There have been many times when I have been driven to my knees in prayer because I had nowhere else to turn.” I am right there with you Abe.  The best we can do is to do everything we can and then trust God for the rest. Let your light, no matter how little, shine in the darkness.

God of grace and judgment, change the hearts of our people. Remove the hatred and fear and selfishness that divides us.  Open our spirits to love and kindness and justice and humility. Amen.

For I know the plans that I have for you are plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope. When you call on me, I will answer you. You shall seek me and find me, when  you search for me with all of your heart and I will be found by you, declares the Lord. 

 Jeremiah 29: 11-14

I hope so.