How do we witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ without killing each other with words or in deed?
Last week gave me a case of spiritual and emotional whiplash. As I listened to folks agonize over the Chick-Fil-A controversy in our community, I heard feelings of anger, frustration, hate, impatience, apathy, cluelessness, disengagement, rage. They were reading facebook, following folks on twitter, and listening and watching the news in mainstream media. Members of our congregation were struggling how to engage and whether it was worth the effort.
To cap the week, there was the mass shooting at the Sikh temple, an extreme example of hate turned to violence. As to that point, there is an interesting piece in the Washington Post.
In post 9/11 America it is too easy to collapse into a response of fear. We can cower in silence, leaving our words of love unspoken. We can buy a gun and get a license to carry a concealed weapon. Or we can stand and act.
We know that perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). Jesus was unafraid to heal, to preach, and to eat with the outcast. He was also not bound to a minimal standard of “tolerance.” He challenged his compatriots to live their faith in truth, without hypocrisy. He called his friends to make peace, even if it killed them (which it did).
I invite us to do the same. We as a community are called to bear witness to the radical love and hospitality of God. There is risk. It is scary. But we will not be moved by fear, but will stand grounded in love.