While I feel very grateful to spend some quality time away for rest and renewal of my spirit, the violence in our world didn’t take a rest. Like many of you, I grieve the lives that were lost in senseless violence in Minnesota, Dallas, Baton Rouge and in Turkey and France. It seems as if the world has lost its collective mind. But there is one thing that will never change. Never. God is good. God is constant. God weeps with all who weep.

How do I know? How can I not know when I see the loving responses and heart-warming outreach of made-in-the-image-of-God folks like you. While all around us people insist that we choose sides and ramp up the rhetoric about why others are deluded or wrong, we need not fall for that trap. At the suggestion of one of you, I’ve stopped sharing Facebook posts that demonize ‘the other side’ or call for any sort of violence (words included) that threaten to divide me from those who disagree with me (even my extended family).

Jesus must surely have been angry many times in his life. We know of his table-turning response to greedy businessmen in the temple but there’s nothing written about him doing any violence to any person. He showed how wrong violence is by letting others ‘do unto him’ and then did the most outrageous thing of all – forgave them for it. This doesn’t mean we passively accept violence of any kind; we must figure out how not to respond to hate with hate, to attack with attack, to hurt with hurt. Love really is the only logical response and it’s the hardest response of all.

Sunday’s scripture, Luke 11: 1-13, gives us Jesus’ Prayer or the Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples ask Jesus for a prayer, Jesus offers important guidelines not specific words. Praying for God’s reign to break down barriers between earth and heaven is my constant prayer today.

God of all goodness and light, break through the shadows of hate and fear that threaten us. Make yourself known and felt so we may be empowered to be agents of change through the humbling power of love.

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