Daily Devotion - Friday, December 4, 2015
This is the first week of the season of Advent. Throughout the season of Advent we'll be focusing on what it means to be full of expectation and anticipation during this blessed time of year. We'll also be lifting up the various weekly themes of Advent, corresponding to the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath. This week our theme is "Hope."
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I scrolled through my Facebook feed yesterday, and read through the various blog posts I follow, I was paying close attention to how my Christian friends were responding to the terrible tragedies in California this week.
In what is looking more and more like an act of terrorism by two people who embraced a radical, extremist form of Islam, fourteen people were killed and as many more were injured. It was a terrible tragedy, made all the more terrible because it happened during a time of year marked by longings for hope and peace.
To say that my Christian friends are somewhat divided in their response to this awful violent act is an understatement. Many of my conservative Christian friends immediately began posting or re-posting anti-Muslim tirades, defenses of the 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms), calls for retaliation and the like.
More than a few of of my more progressive Christian friends began decrying the lack of stricter gun laws, and attacking conservatives over what they classified as "hate speech" regarding Muslims.
I could not for the life of me find any visions of hope in the midst of all the comments, posts and re-posts of my conservative and progressive Christian friends. It seems that even for Christians, who ought to know better, politics and social world view seems to trump faith and hope.
As Christians we are called to a higher view of the things of this world. It doesn't mean that we put our head in the sand, or walk around with rose-colored glasses, refusing to perceive and call Evil out when we see it.
But we are called to follow Jesus--not politicians, not ideology. And sometimes Jesus leads us to uncomfortable places where we are called to forgive those who persecute us. Jesus urges us to speak grace and peace to those who offer nothing to us but anger and fear.
Jesus calls us to be living example of the blessed hope of a world made new--even as we live in a world that isn't as it should be.
May you be a beacon of hope to all you meet. May you bear witness to the coming kingdom of God by your words and your deeds. May you embrace the truth of the words of the Apostle Paul: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)" And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and always. Amen.