Today’s Sermon (Romans 6:1-11)

Lately I haven’t been writing out my sermons…usually just notes. This message was/is difficult for me and so I had to write it all out. I’m not sure how much will change in the preaching, because I never stay exactly with what I’ve written, but I decided to share this one.

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)

“A death like his.” I wonder…what comes to mind when we hear those words? “A death like his.”

A death in which Jesus is sacrificed in order to please an angry God?

A death so that I can have forgiveness?

A death that happened to an innocent man? A murder?

I once thought, had been taught, that Jesus death was solely to pay the price for my own personal sin. This death was to replace the ancient sacrificial system that had been so abused as to become meaningless as well as oppressive to the poor. For who could afford to buy a sacrificial animal but the wealthy? The emphasis was less on the issues of justice and instead on atonement. That idea that Jesus paid for mine, and your, sins. But, and this is a big but… we had to repent of those sins, we had to ask for forgiveness.

The more I’ve learned, of Jesus, of grace, of the life of faith, the more I see the truth of so much more going on than Jesus giving himself so that I personally would get that free ticket to heaven.

But this is a tricky topic…it always is when someone starts messing with cherished beliefs. So maybe I’ll just say here that my intent is not to change beliefs so much as it is to amplify them and to understand Jesus’ work in today’s context.

“A death like his.” Jesus was murdered for political reasons. Specifically he was murdered because he cast judgment on an unjust system. His attaching the moneychangers and animal vendors in the temple was not so that we could later say that we shouldn’t ever hold a fundraiser at the church (while we should still have a very good reason for doing so). No, he attacked the moneychangers and animal vendors in the temple because they were indicative of the oppression that was the daily life of every day people. The wealthy and powerful, or better said, those who were profiting off this system were angry at the disruption. Jesus was dead less than a week later.

Of course cleaning out the temple wasn’t Jesus’ only offense.

  • He…horrors…talked to women, ate with women, allowed women to learn along with the men… and this was unacceptable.
  • He talked to foreigners…although not too much.
  • He touched dead people…he touched sick people, and in doing so gave them back their dignity.
  • He healed on the Sabbath…in essence he was a breaker of the law.

From a purely legal, historical perspective, Jesus was not murdered, but received the death penalty…legally. He was “justifiably” killed for breaking the law. It was not justice. His death on the cross was a form of torture, the purpose of which was to deter others from following in his footsteps… all to support a system of oppression.

“A death like his.” I’m not sure that I want to be united with Jesus in this sort of death. I’m comfortable living my middle class life, in a middle class neighborhood, pastoring a middle class church. None of us has reason to fear the state…however, in our own political climate we see many in our own neighborhoods whose status as “undocumented” has them in fear of arrest and deportation each day. It’s not right, but it is legal. These brothers and sisters of our can probably relate to the words, “a death like his” far better than can I.

This week I’ve pondered the tragic case of Philando Castile. I remember when he was first killed. His girlfriend filming immediately after the shooting, “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

These words speak so much. That she continued to use the word, “sir” as maybe an attempt at de-escalation…to save her own life and that of her daughter. Late last week the officer was acquitted…as most are.

A couple years ago (I think), after the events in Ferguson, when another black man was shot and killed by police, I preached a sermon on the reason for the Black Lives Matter movement and on why we should support it. People said that Mike Brown was a criminal, disrespectful to the police officer…as if he deserved to then be shot. Even if one were to believe this, the opposite was true for Mr. Castile, he was respectful and calmly told the officer he was legally carrying a gun. What is a black person to do?

This past week, there was a call from many within our denomination to get behind the movement for Black Lives Matter…the movement for justice. Why now? First, there is the reminder that 9 members of Mother Emmanual AME church in Charlston were murdered two years ago. Their killer? A member of an ELCA congregation. Second, the killing of Philando Castile took place in the heart of Lutheran land. The shooting was only a few blocks from Luther Seminary.

This is a Lutheran issue…it’s a Christian issue and sadly recent studies show that the majority of white Christians don’t think that racism exists. We can do better.

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

Maybe in this context our being united with Jesus is to truly see our black brothers and sisters as precious children of God and in seeing them to advocate for their lives…because they do indeed matter.

In this week’s gospel lesson Jesus is reported to have said,

“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)

I usually see this verse on Facebook with the challenge to share it…as if that were the acknowledging that Jesus is requesting. I never share it…actually never share anything that comes to me with the instructions, “share this…” to show you’re Christian. Words on Facebook matter little.

How we live matters a lot. Acknowledging Jesus before others is to also in some mysterious way be united with Jesus in his death…they are linked…and they remind us that living as a disciple is not always easy…sometimes we are called to step out of our safe spaces.

As difficult as this is, it is not bad news. Following Jesus includes the promise of resurrection. This is life…glorious, sometimes scary beautiful life. The promise that we read of in Romans is that we receive this wonderful gift of God’s grace…completely free. As I say over and over that we don’t have to do anything to earn it. This free gift of grace comes with an invitation, a call, to live as a disciple…to follow Jesus into the painful places… and in so doing to discover life…resurrected life…life lived for each other.

Sowing to the wind

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” -Hosea 8:7

Sowing to the wind… the prophet Hosea was protesting the political systems and religious practices of the time, especially in trusting “things” and people rather than God. As someone who doesn’t practice the discipline of scripture memorization, I’m intrigued that this is a verse that has ingrained itself in my mind.

When I think of it though, I’m usually thinking of it in terms of being caught in the whirlwind. One could say that suffering the ill effects of someone’s bad decision or bad action or even lack of action is suffering the whirlwind. As a society we all are caught in the various whirlwinds created by our politicians (in unjust policy), our decisions (in our voting, consumer habits,etc), our privileges (in our inability to truly see those around us), and the crimes of others.

Today I’m thinking of the whirlwind of gun violence. As I think of the latest shootings I remember Sandy Hook. I’ll never forget reading of that tragic event while waiting for our preschool Christmas program to start. I could barely speak words of welcome to the parents who’d gathered to hear their own precious children sing. I later preached on this tragedy, using the words of a Christmas hymn, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” The first half of verse 3 speaks to our nation:

And you, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow…

The seemingly never-ending cycle of gun violence, of mass shootings and massacres bends us low even if we don’t realize it. The pain associated with such tragedies should propel us towards a better way but unfortunately we are right now politically unable to to move.

After Sandy Hook. After Charleston. After Orlando. After San Bernadino. After. After After. After all these, I’ve found myself in “discussions” with gun advocates, as I try and implore them to be part of the solution. Sadly these discussion have never gone anywhere. I am as guilty as anyone else in my inability to engage in constructive dialogue here (and elsewhere). I continue to believe that those of us who see no need for guns must work with those who are responsible gun owners to find ways off this painful and crushing road.

Now we have a mass shooting of politicians. Specifically politicians who oppose gun control, along with a lobbyist and two police officers. Yesterday morning, upon seeing the news my first thought was, “we continue to reap the whirlwind.” I prayed for those who were injured and for our nation. And I entered the surreal experience of having a totally unproductive argument with gun control advocates.

This happened on Facebook (which is also the location of my other unproductive “discussions” with gun advocates). Specifically, I looked upon my Facebook feed and saw the following:

Congress passed a Bill allowing mentally ill to purchase guns. I’m not saying they deserved it, but at least no one innocent was shot.

I immediately objected to the statement that “no one innocent was shot.”

The truth is that innocent people were shot. The capitol police officers were innocent. I kept trying to make that point and a couple people conceded. But the reality is that even if one qualifies as statement to say, “I’m not saying they deserved it”, by saying “no one innocent was shot” is indeed inferring that they deserved it.

Were the politicians innocent? I disagree with just about everything Steve Scalise stands for and advocates for, especially when it comes to race. But my disagreement does not mean I can dehumanize him or others. They are victims of a man who set out yesterday to create mayhem and to further damage our nation. To say they were not innocent does nothing except further divide our nation.

In following the commands of Jesus to “love my neighbor as myself,” I will choose to pray for the injured; have compassion for the injured; and continue to advocate for the removal of these weapons of mass carnage from our streets.

The second half of the third verse:

Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!

This song is of the angels singing of the peace that accompanies Jesus’ coming. Maybe as we all pause, and rest alongside the weary road of gun violence we can learn to see one another a valuable human beings. And when we see one another we can learn to listen to one another. And in listening may we find peace. That is my continued prayer.

Words Matter….a sermon from 6 years ago

I preached this sermon six years ago and appreciated the reminder for me as I protest a new president who has demonstrated through his own words and actions that he is a bully. I will continue to vehemently oppose these actions and words but will not dehumanize by attacking the person.

Do you remember the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

You ever say that to someone who was throwing words at you? You ever use the phrase as an internal chant to convince yourself that words… hurtful words are just words and thus don’t have the power to cut… to hurt… to destroy?

The reality is that words do hurt us… words do have incredible power… and words, when systematically directed against a group of people can even lead to the use of sticks and stones and other weapons.

The movie “Hotel Rwanda” dramatizes the genocide that occurred there in the spring of 1994. Approximately 800,000 people were killed in about 100 days. The movie depicts the true story of one man, a hotel manager, trying to save his family, friends and others. He succeeded in saving just over 1,000 people.

As we look at this now it’s hard to imagine how in such a short time such violence could occur. Of course there is a long history of conflict… a long history of disagreement and dispute… a long history of treating one another poorly. But it was a long history that did not include genocide. So what changed?

Part of what happened was the result of intentional dehumanization. The Tutsis were called “cockroaches” and worse. I remember the movie depicting this, as the radio stations broadcast story after story attacking “the cockroaches.” It is much easier to kill a cockroach than it is to kill a human being.

Sadly this dehumanization is not limited solely to Rwanda… it is not limited solely to ethnic groups or nations or religions. Name-calling… is a sad reality in all our lives.

This sermon was written yesterday morning… and when I was done, I checked the news… The violence in Arizona yesterday where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and a judge and others were killed is tragic news for our country… and this tragedy may also have its roots in the toxic political rhetoric that we hear every day.

All of us have used words against others… calling people names in our frustration and anger and hurt. Sometimes we have even participated in the dehumanizing of a group of people through the use of derogatory names… sometimes we’ve participated without even realizing it… sometimes we’ve participated passively when we’ve allowed pundits and politicians and other high-profile people to attack or labels others… without ever calling them on it. And sometimes we even laugh at jokes that are at the expense of others.

We have also been the recipients of words that are… or have been hurtful. As a child, when others knew of my Italian heritage the word WOP was thrown around… it wasn’t until I was older that I learned that a WOP was one who was “without papers.” Or, as we say today an undocumented immigrant or an illegal or words that are worse.

There have been all kinds of words… directed at all kinds of people   words that we don’t need to repeat because of their hurtfulness towards groups and individuals… words that we know and have heard and have felt the sting of…

There are also words used that may be a bit more personal such as: stupid, fatso,
lazy bones, idiot, ugly, loser, know-it-all, creep, jerk, crybaby… did I miss any?

How many of us have heard these words applied to us? Words that in our pasts and in our present are painful… take a moment and remember… remember the words that others have called you… remember the words that you have called yourself. I know it’s painful…

Now hear these words… my beloved child… my beloved child… my beloved child… these words… this is my beloved child… were said to Jesus as he came up out of the waters of baptism… my beloved child. And through the life and work of Jesus, these words apply to us too… each of us is a beloved child.

John originally didn’t want to baptize Jesus… he knew Jesus as one who is without sin and one who is more powerful and who will come with a baptism of the spirit and with fire. So why would Jesus need to be baptized? He didn’t need to repent… he didn’t need to change anything in his life… he didn’t need to be made clean.

But Jesus told John that his baptism was necessary… it was necessary that Jesus went into that water… it was in fact where Jesus really started his ministry… down in the water of baptism.

Now our baptismal water in this small font that we have today is clean water… as far as we can see. But the water in the Jordan river would not have looked so pure and clean. It would have probably looked a bit brown as dirt from the river bottom was kicked up…

But it also would have had another kind of dirt, the dirt of all that sin… all that uncleanness that was washed away in baptism. It was in this dirty water that Jesus started his ministry. When we fast forward to Jesus’ death on the cross we are reminded that he ended his ministry between two criminals… two sinners.

Well… isn’t it interesting that he also started his ministry among sinners? In that river where John was baptizing… Jesus went down in solidarity with humanity… in that water where all the name-calling and oppression and opposition and hurt and pain and sickness and death are deposited… Jesus went down so that he would be with us.

When he came back up he heard the words, “this is my beloved son…” Through him we too are recipients of the words… “you are my beloved child.” These are words that reflect the love of God towards each of us… but if we never think of these words they don’t have the power to change us… because if we don’t think of these words we allow other words… those other hurtful and inflammatory words to fill our minds.

You are a beloved child… it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. It doesn’t matter what we tell ourselves… it doesn’t matter what we think… because what God thinks is that each of us are beloved children. In this day of violence in our land, let us as those beloved children of God be participants in the light of Christ. Let us speak words of hope and of love.

In times of turmoil and trouble let us hear the words… beloved child… and remember that in our own times of frustration with ourselves and with others… when we are tempted to demonize or devalue others or ourselves let us remember that we and they are indeed beloved children of God.

At font… These waters were stirred up by Jesus… when we look we see water… but in addition is power… power that came down like a dove… power of the Holy Spirit… a power that is gentle… a power that allows us to love ourselves and a power that helps us to love others. All of us received this power in our own baptisms… it is a power based in love and it is free for all of us… let us remember this each day… as we remember that like Jesus, we and others are beloved children of God.

Amen

On Killing, #3

41Bu29eZsZL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_This is part 3 of my interaction with the book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. It’s been awhile sense my last post. Today I’m writing about Section II of the book, “Killing and Combat Trauma: The Role of Killing in Psychiatric Casualties.”

As I read this section of the book I couldn’t help but think of the debates regarding guns that are happening in our country. What I suspect that some don’t understand is that it is not so easy to kill. So, to have the idea that a response to gun violence is to have more people carry weapons would result in more safety is naive. Maybe someone who is properly trained can help to increase the safety, but then that is the role of our police. If combat is as difficult and traumatic as described, then untrained civilians, whose idea of combat is gleamed from movies and television, have no clue as to what is really required. 

Last, I grieve for all the soldiers through the centuries who’ve experienced the trauma of war and combat. As I grieve I continue to pray and hope for that one day we will experience peace in our world.

Following are highlights of the section.

We start with a telling quotation:

“Nations customarily measure the ‘costs of war’ in dollars, lost production, or the number of soldiers killed or wounded. Rarely do military establishments attempt to measure the costs of war in terms of individual human suffering. Psychiatric breakdown remains one of the most costly items of war when expressed in human terms.” -Richard Gabriel, No More Heroes (page 41)

The author then goes on to describe the stressors that cause psychiatric trauma. I was surprised to learn that the chance of being a psychiatric casualty is”greater than the chances of being killed by enemy fire.” (p43)

As the goal of combat is to kill the enemy one would think that fear would be the biggest cause of psychological trauma. However fear of death and injury are not the primary problems. This is evident in that the majority of civilians who suffered bombing campaigns during WWII did not exhibit the same psychological breakdowns and neither did those who served in combat but did not directly face enemies. The difference between soldiers and civilians was that civilians did not have the “responsibility of (1) being expected to kill and (2) the stress of looking their potential killers in the face. (page 65)

Factors that lead to psychological trauma:

  • Physical exhaustion. I know exhaustion from running marathons, but a marathon doesn’t even come close to the physical exhaustion experienced by soldiers in combat. Their physical exhaustion entails: lack of sleep; lack of food; and the impact of the elements. (pages 71-72).
  • Then there is the sheer hell of it all. This quote is telling:

“I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” – William Tecumseh Sherman. (page 73)

  • Another psychological cost is in dealing with hate. Here not some much in hating others but in being the recipient of hate. The trauma felt here is one that sadly can be readily transferred to civilian life away from the battlefield. Sadly the author notes, “Many medical authorities believe that it is the constant hostility and lack of acceptance that they must face – and the resulting stress – that are responsible for the dramatic rate of high blood pressure in African Americans.” (page 76)

    The “one historic circumstance  in which noncombatants did suffer a horrifyingly high incidence of psychiatric casualties and post-traumatic stress,” was among the survivors of Nazi concentration camps. (77)
    As I review this material I am saddened by the hate that we are seeing today exhibited toward Muslims.

  • Still the biggest source of stress is in the act of killing, or needing to kill. “The media’s depiction of violence tries to tell us that men can easily throw off the moral inhibition of a lifetime – and whatever other instinctive restraint exists – and kill casually and guiltless in combat. The men who have killed, and who will talk about it, tell a different tale.” (87)

    For many a coping method is to use euphemisms for killing, so that “most soldier do not ‘kill’, instead the enemy was knocked over, wasted, greased, taken out, and moped up.” Soldiers throughout the world use alternative words for this, as well as dehumanize the enemy by using negative pejoratives.

For the author, non-soldiers do not understand the reality and stress of war. I agree with him that we who have not experienced combat are clueless as to the realities of war, of combat, of killing.

“A culture raised on Rambo, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, and James Bond wants to believe that combat and killing can be done with impunity – that we can declare someone to be the enemy and that for cause and country the soldiers will cleanly and remorselessly wipe him from the face of the earth. In many ways it is simply too painful for society to address what it does when it sends its young men off to kill other young men in distant lands.” (page 94).

On Killing, #2

41Bu29eZsZL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_My second post on the book, On Killing, covers the first section. I liked this section of the book (probably much more than I think I’ll like what’s coming next). The titles of the section and each of its chapters actually provide a pretty good summary of what will be found.

Section I: Killing and the Existence of Resistance: A World of Virgins Studying Sex

  • Chapter One: Fight or Flight, Posture or Submit
    Most of us are familiar with fight or flight, but before that comes posturing… seeking to scare the enemy away. Interestingly, this week I read advice, before going on a trail run, about how to react when encountering a mountain lion. The advice was all about posturing. Apparently we do it with one another as well.
    One form of posturing is to fire one’s weapon over the heads of opponents. This quote describes a firefight at Vicksburg in 1863, “It seems strange that a company of men can fire volley after volley at a like number of men at not over a distance of fifteen steps and not cause a single casualty.” (p11)
    Another quote “‘One of the things that amazed me,’ stated Douglas Graham, a medic with the First Marine Division in Vietnam, who had to crawl out under enemy and friendly fire to aid wounded soldiers, ‘is how many bullets can be fired during a firefight without anyone getting hurt.'” (p13)
  • Chapter Two: Nonfirers Throughout History & Chapter Three: Why Can’t Johnny Kill?
    While some soldiers fire and miss their targets, some never fire at all. Sometimes these men provided support to the ones who would fire their weapons.
    S.L.A. Marshall, studied the firing/killing rates of soldiers throughout WWII He concluded, “the average and healthy individual… has such an inner and usually unrealized resistance towards killing a fellow man that he will not of his own volition take life if it is possible to turn away from that responsibility… At the final point… the soldier becomes a conscientious objector.” (p30)
  • Chapter Four: The Nature and Source of the Resistance
    I’ll let the author speak, “We may never understand the nature of this force in man that causes him to strongly resist killing his fellow man, but we can give praise for it to whatever force we hold responsible for our existence. And although military leaders responsible for winning a war may be distressed by it, as a race we can view it with pride.” (p40)

I would summarize this entire section as an introduction to, and an explanation of the reality that most human beings are not able to kill their fellow human beings. As I was reading this I was thinking a couple things. First, this instinctual aversion to killing is a good thing. The second thought is a bit related in that I continually thought back to the words found in the very beginning of the bible. These words have always guided me to think about my “enemy” as one who also bears God’s image.

26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” -Genesis 1:26-28

Some additional thoughts/questions:

  • Often in times of social upheaval, or war a group of people is made to be the scapegoats for whatever problems are faced. These people are then dehumanized in the most horrific ways. The Nazis did this with the Jews. It happened in Rwanda. In our history we’ve done it to justify slavery and the genocide of the indigenous populations. I think that the making the “other” as less than human then makes it easier to kill or in other ways treat that person as less than human. I don’t know if this will be addressed in this book. But as people of faith we must continually speak out against these messages to remind ourselves and others that all human beings are worthy. This I know is not easy, especially when we look at all the horribleness in our world. To which I must cry, Lord have mercy.
  • My other observation is in regards to those soldiers who are trained to kill. I’m anticipating that I will read about how we have conditioned and trained our soldiers in ways that improve their ability to kill. Before reading this my question for today is… At what cost?

On Killing, #1 An Introduction

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Last week a friend of mine suggested that I read the book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Her suggestion was based (I think) on my anti violence stance that borders on an anti war stance. I constantly struggle with this issue. She noted that when I lead our congregation in weekly prayer, I continually pray for the day the peace will reign in our world. After noting this she suggested that I might also pray for courage for those who are called to be warriors. In thinking back on this conversation, and on Sunday morning prayer, I am reminded that I often pray for justice, wisdom, peace, healing, and that we (collectively) use the power that we have to make this a better world. I think that underneath all of this is the realization that it takes great courage to work for the common good. We might see or define this courage a bit differently (and that’s a good thing).

I very much valued this discussion and am grateful that two people who see the world through slightly different lenses can engage one another in a healthy conversation that leads to growth for both of us. A hope and prayer that I have is that more of us can find ways to do this.

So, a couple days after our meeting I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the suggested book. Sadly, immediately after purchasing the book I went to lunch, checked the latest news on my phone, and thus learned the news of yet another massacre, this time in Oregon.

I had mentioned to my friend that a book like this could be good for a discussion group. So right now I am going to try to start such a discussion here, on my blog. I will read a chapter and share my thoughts and hopefully those who are interested will share theirs. And maybe, hopefully, I will learn something as will you, if you choose to join me. You can purchase your own copy of the book on Amazon or your local bookstore.

Today I share my observations from the book’s introduction.

First, the author comments that as a society we have an unhealthy relationship with violence and death. He talks about how death is far removed from most peoples experiences. For instance we don’t experience death in the home as in years past. Today death happens in hospitals and nursing homes so we often don’t have an intimate experience with it. While I agree with this observation to a great extent, I am wondering if those who live in the more violent prone neighborhoods of our country would agree with this generalization.

Most of us also do not slaughter our own food. Instead we buy it nicely cut and wrapped in the local supermarket. According to the author we don’t want to get any closer to the real experience of death and many of us go so far as to condemn all killing, even for food or for the elimination of rodents.

At the same time we don’t want to see real death, we seem to glorify violent death in movies, television, video games, and other forms of entertainment. He sees this as very unhealthy for our society. I agree with this assessment and am chagrined at my own desire for non-violence in real life while I choose to watch crime shows and dramas that show an ugly side of human nature. I am very inconsistent and I must come to terms with this.

This book will focus (mainly) on the killing that accompanies war. I am hoping that it will be valuable as a tool to understand the violence the permeates our culture outside of war as well. It’s interesting that the author writes of the need to study this topic. I agree and right now lament the fact that our congress has made it almost impossible to study the subject of handgun violence in our nation. We need to study this.

As a pastor, my interpretive lens is always (hopefully) the grace and forgiveness that we receive through Jesus, who himself died a violent and horrible death. The good news is not found in his death but in his resurrection… in new life. Today (and for many days past) our country is hurting. My prayer is that we all have the strength and courage to look at violence – not as a source of entertainment, but rather as something that needs to be faced so that we can experience new life.

Please join me on this journey