CLERGY CORNER: “No More Hurting People!”

Posted on 25 April 2013 by LeslieM

It is heartbreaking to see the recent photograph of Martin Richard, a smiling 8-year-old boy, holding a sign that reads “No More Hurting People!”

The heartbreak is because Martin was the youngest of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. Some might say Martin’s tragic passing is no more catastrophic than the loss of 23- year-old Lu Lingzi or 29-year-old Krystle Campbell or 26- year-old M.I.T. police officer Sean Collier. But there is something extra compelling about the innocence of a child’s smile and the ideal of a child’s message when that very child is victim to senseless terror.

We are shocked so often by irrational acts of violence that we have to wonder why we continue to be shocked. Whatever evil drives such heinous acts of cowardice, our response must be toward love and justice, not hatred or revenge. At times like these, even love and justice seem polar opposites, but in Christ they are inseparable.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross last week spoke of the pain and looked ahead to what he called our “spiritual recovery.” In so doing, he acknowledges that even when the human spirit is trampled, God’s Spirit prevails.

This explains the resilience of people sustained by faith to courageously rebound from tragedy, to persevere in the face of uncertainty, and to somehow do so with compassion and restraint.

The teaching to respond in this way comes from Jesus….. Jesus says, “I say to you to listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat, do not withhold even your shirt …

Do to others as you would have them do to you … Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” {Luke 6} Christ’s teaching is challenging and following Christ is challenging …

Do to others as you wish others do to you presumes good intentions. We know some children are raised to love life while others are raised to loath and murder.

We know the human instinct to a sucker punch is not to turn the other cheek. Many of us feel the desired response to a terrorist is to bomb the bomber, to match force with superior force.

The Good News for the world is Jesus is more than a Teacher. He is the omnipotent force to turn the downward spiral upward to the heavens. He surpasses evil on his way to the cross where he conquers sin and death once and for all.

To people of all ages and all nations, he says, “Pick up your cross and follow me. You will be sorrowful but your sorrow will turn to joy. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”

Each week at church, we share the peace of Christ with each other. We desperately need to share the peace of Christ in the world, especially when and where it is not easy. May God’s Spirit prevail and may there be no more hurting people …

Please come this Saturday @ Six or Sunday morning at 8:30 or 11 a.m. to hear the message “Love Wins!” based on John 13: 34 – 35.

Reverend Andrews is Minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach) located five blocks south of Hillsboro on A1A. See more at www.communitych.org or on Facebook.

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