Saturday, October 07, 2017

If I Were Preaching Tomorrow...

Year A
Proper 22

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Psalm 19 Philippians 3:4b-14 Matthew 21:33-46

If I were preaching tomorrow then I would have to say that last Sunday, the Ten Commandments were violently violated.

We have taken the 2nd Amendment which states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

   and made it into a god. It has become more important than the lives that are destroyed by one who has been given the right “to keep and bear arms.” That right is more important than people gathered in a movie theatre, than children in a high school, than children in an elementary school, than people gathered in a church for bible study, than people at a night club, than people at a concert…that right for a few has become more important than the lives of innocent people doing nothing but studying, praying, singing, dancing, enjoying life. That right shall not be infringed by the rights of others to live, love, and pursue happiness.

These weapons have become idols, false idols that have directed attention away from God alone.

In my wrath, I have used God’s name to curse those who hold the power to do something yet do nothing to save us from this violent onslaught. I am sure I am not alone.

This most recent tragedy happened on a day we set aside as a day of worship. Yes, I know that many of us are no longer thinking of church or God by the time of day that this happened, nonetheless, it was Sunday. Regardless, this was an unholy act. God created all the days. Each one is holy.

Mothers and fathers were not honored. They were slaughtered. Their children were cut down.

Murder was committed. Mass murder. 

Perhaps there was no adultery committed. But if we think in terms of cheating, unfaithfulness, there were those things committed.

Lives were drained. The future was stolen. Health was robbed. Innocence was stripped away. The illusion of peace was shattered.

Lies have been told about the necessity for weapons. Falsehoods have been propagated to make people think they have a right to carry a semi-automatic weapon. False witness has been borne against all the victims of violent weapons allowing too many to think they are safe in a culture that worships rapid-fire weapons capable of mutilating almost 600 people in under ten minutes.

Lives were coveted so much so that one person took 58 of them, 59 when we remember he took his own. Many of those lives were lived in love. Perhaps it was the love he coveted.
Is God testing us, attempting to stop our idolatry by scaring the sin out of us?

If I were preaching tomorrow, I would have to wonder about the Gospel of Matthew. Not about tenants necessarily but about the idea that once again we have rejected the stone that should be our cornerstone.

It is easy to say that this is not about ME. I am not for irresponsible gun ownership. I am not for all who wish to have an assault rifle. I am not rejecting the cornerstone!

But I wonder…am I producing fruit of the kingdom? Am I likely to fall on this stone and be broken into pieces? Will I be crushed by it or cause another to be so? What can I do to change the culture? How can I, little old me, do anything that will change this culture of violence that we worship as if it has known us since before we were born; while we were in our mother’s womb, as if it knew the number of hairs on our heads, as if it loved us as only God can?

I think I am glad I am not preaching tomorrow. 

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