Take your pulse — is your heart beating with Jesus’ heart? Are you feeling the pain of the families and friends of those who died in Orlando?
What is your pulse rate saying about “Who Jesus is?” [Luke 9:18-24]
Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Jesus is my rock and my refuge. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus is the beginning and the end.
All of these would be good answers to the question of, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus would be pleased to hear us believe and to profess any of these statements. To explain what we mean by these statements — and then to live these beliefs is a whole different matter.
Years ago the question “What would Jesus do?” was popular. Wristbands of all colors were worn with the letters WWJD. But, answering the question, What would Jesus do — could bring a variety of answers depending on what one really believed.
After the shooting in Orlando — and in the days to follow — I found myself asking the trite question, “What would Jesus do?” …. now, in this time, in this situation?!
The more I thought about it, the more I came to feel and believe — he would be turning over tables and driving many, many people from the temple area. We would be pointing fingers at those who were turning the Father’s House into a den of murders and hate-mongers. He would be chastising those who hide behind “offers of prayer” and empty words — without action.
The old African proverb, often quoted by Rep. John Lewis says: When you pray, move your feet.
When will people of FAITH have enough — a year ago we mourned the senseless murder of nine people in a church in Charleston. Now, we mourn the loss of 49 lives in the CLUB PULSE in Orlando.
Just as the murders in Charleston were motivated by racial hatred, so were the murders in Orlando motivated by hatred of gay people.
Let’s not get lost in the arguments about Radical Islam or the arguments over gun control — as important as these are. Let’s not only denounce hatred due to race and hatred due to sexual orientation. Let’s stand up for black people and let’s stand up for the LGBT community.
Let’s be honest to say that Churches — all Churches — have added to racial and sexual bigotry by demonizing minorities and gay people. We must not just speak against action, we must stand up for people…. all people.
Archbishop Blasé Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, FL were the most courageous of the Roman Catholic leaders speaking on behalf of gay people. Too many Church leaders spoke against violence and commended the victims of violence to the mercy of God —– read between the lines — commend these poor sinners to God’s mercy — this is very different from These men and women are children of God and innocent people out to have a good time when another human being acted as if he were a monster. The perpetrator of this crime acted as a judge in deciding who was right and who was wrong.
Yes, it may turn out that this guy had his own issues of sexual identity and acted out of self hatred —- still doesn’t matter. Gay people were targeted for who they were and for who they love. It would be MOST TRAGIC if his “religion” caused such self-loathing and hatred that in in turn took it out on other gay people. All preachers need to ask their words teach self-acceptance or self-hatred.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he says: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female — FOR YOU ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. . . . . You are Abraham’s descendant.
Today, let us add: you are neither a citizen or an undocumented person, neither black nor white, straight nor gay, neither Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Hindu …. YOU ARE ONE.
Muhammad Ali said he had no fight with the Viet Cong because no Viet Cong ever called him a NIGGER. What about white people who hung blacks from trees for trying to register to vote?? What about white people who hang around gay bars to beat gay people? What about religious communities, priests, that owned slaves?
One day we must address gun issues. What day we must figure out how to deal with Muslims who are radicalized to kill those unlike themselves.
But, today —–we must heed the words of the Prophet Zechariah — they will look upon those whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve him as one grieves over a firstborn. We wail, we scream, we yell —– and we promise to assure that justice is done. Moments of silence are empty. Lighted candles are sweet — but we must act:
First — by saying loudly that acts of violence against someone because of race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation is a SIN. Words against someone for who he or she is or because of who they love is an act of violence — and a sin. Love your neighbor means Black people, White People, Gay People, Muslims —- everyone.
Secondly — we provide services to everyone regardless of who they are or who they love. Housing, medical care, food services, and education are open to everyone equally. If we put a man on the moon, we can figure out a way to let people “pee” where they want to pee.
Third: We say “Who Jesus is” not in the profession of faith, not in our night prayers, or in our ways of worship —- we announce who Jesus is in our hearts and in our ACTIONS.
Love is the PULSE of a meaningful life. Hatred is the PULSE of a meaningless life.
I cannot imagine that Jesus is a happy man this week.