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How Do We Respond?

06.13.16 | Love | by Matt Oprendek

How Do We Respond?

    When a national tragedy occurs, how do Christians respond?

    1.  With God’s help, I will continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.

    First and foremost, we continue to remember what we know is true, and we return to God in prayer.  

    We remember: Christ is risen, and in the face of horrible circumstances, we hold on to the truth that Love, not hate, will have the final say.  THAT’s the hope of the resurrection.  That’s our faith.  That’s the apostle’s teaching.  We continue to worship to help us remember that truth.

    We pray: we ask God’s Spirit for strength, for healing, for the peace that passes understanding, and the courage to take the action we can take.  We pray for those who have died, and that God’s light and love will shine upon their souls.  We pray for the families, that they will be sustained by God’s grace and love.  We thank God for those who work for public safety, those who provide healing within our healthcare system, and those who serve the common good.

    2.  With God’s help, I will persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever I fall into sin, I repent and return to the Lord.

    I will resist the evil impulse to become no different from those who hate.  I will resist revenge in my heart, and when I feel it overcoming me, I return to God in prayer, asking for grace to live in God’s love.  I will resist the evil of easy answers, bumpersticker solutions, and making shallow generalizations about people and policies.

    3.  With God’s help, I will proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.

    The words I use and the way I will live, they will both demonstrate God’s good news.  The good news is that the Love of Christ overcomes the Hate of the World…that God’s kingdom will always bring restoration and dignity to outcasts, victims, and the powerless. 

    4.  With God’s help, I will seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself.

    That means I pray for all persons, including those who hate us and persecute us: may all people find freedom and peace in God’s love.   

    I serve Christ in “all persons,” which includes GLBT people, those of different faiths, and those who disagree with me politically.  I pray for them, I seek to serve them, and I love them as I love myself. I do not engage in speech that fails to offer dignity to any human being.

    5.  Loving my neighbor also means I will strive for justice and peace among all people, and I will respect the dignity of every human being. 

    Notice this “outer work” of striving for justice and peace begins AFTER we strive to make sure our own lives and hearts exemplify God’s Good News.  We work on our own hearts first. 

    Striving for justice and peace means we make decisions based on love and wisdom, and not based on fear.  We take practical steps where we can to prevent future massacres like this one, and we pray for our leaders to make wise decisions.