Make Love Your Aim!

Broad Brook Congregational Church

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fathers’ Day

June 19, 2016

 

loveaim“Make Love Your Aim!”

A lament

 

Dear God,

Last Sunday we worshiped in an attitude of joy and celebration as the youngest members of the BBCC flock told us what they had learned over the past 10 months.

 

It was a time when we celebrated the gifts of Chelsea Morin who served as Mrs. York’s assistant. We sent her on her way to follow a new path with blessings from us, and your guiding presence, O God of wisdom. We gave thanks for Mrs. York and Mrs. Signor and the gifts you have given them that they share with the children.

It was a glorious day!

 

However, for me, this Sunday feels much different.

It is one of those times when, once again, the anger in me feels right.

It is a time when, once again, the frustration I feel seems justified.

It is a time when, once again, the grief I feel is profound.

It is a time when, once again, my heart feels torn apart.

It is a time when, once again, hopelessness tries to seep into my thoughts

if I am not careful.

It is a time when, once again, I lament that our nation fails to make love its aim.

And Yet! And Yet! And Yet!

Rising from the darkness bursts a light that shines so bright.

In the silence I hear your still small voice!

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE- Your divine love!

 

God, 49 of your children killed and 53 wounded in an act of HATE and TERRORISM!

Your children, our brothers, sisters, and siblings, who were gunned down simply for loving whom they loved—beautiful innocent people whose hopes and dreams ended too soon. Once again a community has been singled out and violated in a horrific way; and “homophobia continues to threaten the safety and sanctity of another’s person’s right to pursue happiness.” Whether, as a Christian, one agrees or disagrees with that, it must not give rise to the hateful speech being spewed out

by certain religious leaders. I cry out to you O God! No one and I mean NO ONE deserves to be demonized because of their race, sexual orientation, faith, or gender identity!

 

God of justice, I don’t want to have to say “once again” in response to another mass shooting. How long, O God? How long must we wait to see justice for the oppressed?

My anger and frustration are focused on this country’s ideology that one group’s “rights” trumps another group’s. You have woven us into a single tapestry

of rich and colorful diversity that makes up the fabric of this nation.

We are all descended from immigrants. The only ones who can claim aboriginal heritage are Native Americans and God you know how they were treated.

It is long past time that our Congress started listening to the majority of its constituents who are in favor of gun legislation that would lower the risk

of those with an agenda, of those with a proclivity for violence, and

of those with a distorted view of humanity from getting assault rifles and

destroying so many lives. God, it is my most humble opinion

that there is no reason, in all of Your creation, that an ordinary citizen needs an assault rifle for “fun”, sport, or otherwise. God, I am not against owning a gun because I must confess I own a shotgun. My anger lies with a gun industry and a gun lobby that has grown much too powerful and a Congress that is too weak to take a stand.

 

I grieve for the families, the victims, the first responders, the police, and the doctors and nurses whose lives have been forever changed because of what they have endured. I grieve for parents and children of Sandy Hook who have to relive their experiences again. I grieve for all those who have lost loved ones to gun violence of any kind. God, I know you weep with them.

 

I see our nation becoming desensitized, growing numb to the experience

of dealing with our corporate grief as each new mass murder occurs.

There is a sense of hopelessness for some. It is a sense that nothing will change—

“ It is what it is!” There are no easy answers but there are answers.

That is what gives me hope. The conversations need to begin. Each side needs to listen carefully and respectfully to the other side. Most importantly churches need to speak the truth in love. They can no longer sit in silence when injustice rears its ugly head. God you are calling your faithful to action.

 

It is one of those times when, once again, the anger in me feels right.

It is a time when, once again, the frustration I feel seems justified.

It is a time when, once again, the grief I feel is profound.

It is a time when, once again, my heart feels torn apart.

It is a time when, once again, hopelessness tries to seep into my thoughts

if I am not careful.

And Yet! And Yet! And Yet!

Rising from the darkness is a light that shines bright.

In the silence I hear your still small voice!

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE- Your divine love!

 

From the darkness, God, I see your light shining brightly and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I see people being kind.

I hear stories of people supporting the community in Orlando.

I hear prayers being said in a diversity of sanctuaries.

I see other nations speaking words of comfort and solidarity.

I hear our Connecticut Senators filibustering –calling for action and justice to honor the victims of all acts of violence with guns.

I hear conversations that express deep grief but also hope—hope that drives away despair. Your light is showing us where you want us to go. Grant us the courage to follow the example Christ has set for us!

 

In the silence I hear your still small voice calling. I recall what Jesus said to the crowd in his Sermon on the Mount and how he calls them and us to love our enemies. He said, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matt 5: 43-45a).

To be fully the people you want us to be, O God,we must love our enemies and pray for them. The apostle Paul wrote, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. If you return evil for evil you become like your enemy. Imitate Christ.”

 

O God, what a difficult thing you ask of us. But we know that being a follower of Christ is not easy. Therefore, we pray for open minds and courage to love our enemies!

 

And yet! And yet! And yet!

 

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE—Your divine love.

You, O Holy One, who first loved us, who taught us how to love, you heal our brokenness with love. Jesus is the image of God who is met in ordinary life, wherever the brokenness of this world can no longer be overlooked. God thank you for Your healing love. Mend our broken hearts, we pray, and let them be filled with an abundance of love so that we may pour out love to one another even to those whom we view as enemies. Grant that we may strive to make LOVE our aim!

In the greatest of hope….

 

Rev. Carol Lewis