26 July 2012

"Where Is God In All This?"

In the aftermath of the horror in Aurora Colorado, self-anointed prophets have been busy explaining how if only their particular version of what they call, "Christianity" had been running the country for the last few decades, things would be different. One or two have brayed that those who were murdered, if they were not their varietry of, "Christians" are now in some form of Hell. And that old reliable source of the disgusting, Westboro Baptist Church, is now displaying a graphic proclaiming, "God sent the shooter."

All through His ministry, Jesus kept pushing the doors open. He invited sinners, evil doers, the unclean, women, even ethnic minorities(!) to join his following.

If we read Paul more than the other apostles; it is perhaps because he kept pushing those doors. Paul whose list of fellow apostles included a woman (later edited into a man by Jerome.) Paul who fought even the surviving disciples to let gentiles into community. Paul whose thunderous condemnation of ritualism in his conflict with the, "circumcision first" party has echoes in modern debates. Paul whose liberated and liberating views now distress feminists. That Paul whose words and works fill so much of our scripture, kept pushing doors open.

The self-proclaimed prophets with their closed doors, walls and exclusive visions of God, are doing not Christianity, but heresy. They do heresy when they attempt to write into God, not reformation, not reconciliation, but rather their own hatreds. God does not shrink the kingdom, God expands it. God tells the newly liberated Israel: MY HOME SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE. God tells Israel that they are blessed to be a blessing, and that they are to call all nations to justice and equity.

So where is God in the Aurora tragedy? I do not know, but I will share some hunches. We can look for God:
  • in the comfort of prayer,
  • in the strength that fills nurses, surgeons, physicians, EMT, Fire and Police staffs dealing with the emergency needs of those injured.
  • in the courage that those in the theater who helped.
  • in the loving consolation offered by clergy and counselors
Look there for God. Weeping with the disconsolate, God whose plan for us is reconciling love, not hate, is there in the pain, blood, and horror.

I cannot, to my shame, manage to love those who proclaim heresy. I can at least pray for them. I am still a work in process.
Let us pray:
  • For those who come before you as the result of violence
  • For the injured as they seek healing
  • For those who mourn the lost
  • For those who treat and serve the wounded
  • For the churches and people who now share in the shock and pain as they work to comfort those in mourning
  • For the family of the accused shooter
  • For a nation whose sense of security is damaged
  • For those who falsely proclaim your involvement in evil
  • For the accused shooter

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