Michael Matthew Mercer
Read to the congregation at UCC
The events of this past weekend are far beyond words that will adequately describe it’s horrific nature. It is a terrible reminder of the world we live in, where things are never perfect and sometimes even beyond tolerance. In our past as a country and as a people we have seen devastating actions of a few that have lead to forever consequences of the masses. We look around at the environment that we have chosen or the environment that has chosen us and while most days we seem comfortable, loved, respected, and safe there are those days that emptiness, sorrow, and loss abound. We are but human beings, who have the highest mental and physical abilities of all creation and yet our participation in this life will still mean that on this journey and in this course we can never and will never see the fullness of what could be and we will always long for what should be. What we have heard, read, and seen from this past weekend falls extremely short of, what should be. It is not the first time this reality has come to invade our sometimes-utopian want and our focused personal peace.
It is not just the death of children, teachers, and faculty at school that become sobering and discouraging images of a world torn apart and the fragility of life. It is buildings crashing, soldiers sacrificing, cancer threatening, marriages failing, and poverty rising that proclaims too loudly that in the cycle of life there come times of brokenness, discouragement, and dark nights of the soul. It is in these times that we must find something different than what the world is offering, a different channel, a different station, a different scene, a different reality.
In that quest some have chosen to make strong political, judgmental, and even errant religious messages. This is not a time to voice one’s politics. This is not a time to pass judgment on certain persons. This is not a time to answer for God, explain life, or even make empty religious statements simply to fill the void of silence. This is a time to reach into the depths of our soul, find a sympathetic cry, to search our scriptures for comforting laments, and to peer into our hearts and speak a prayer that has never been spoken. It is a time to weep. It is a time to mourn. It is a time to pray. It is a time to believe!
We cannot nor should we have any faith in what this world offers. We can only have faith in our one and only God. We don’t believe that this world will get so infinitely better that all things will be just as we have hoped. We do believe that God has fashioned and carried out a plan from the beginning that one day His entire creation will be restored to its original perfection, including our own bodies. We believe that why there may be hell on our earth, that when Christ returns that His glory will be so overwhelming, all that can be seen is His light, His life, His way.
The wickedness of this world reminds and reinvigorates us to pursue His love and His commandments and walk this journey with one another as we seek to overcome the darkness with His light through His love. The evil that we have seen this past weekend is just that; evil! It is not our job to overcome this evil with good. God has already done it…with His son Jesus Christ. I’m reminded from 2 Corinthians 4, “7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
So today we weep, we seek the Holy Spirit for counsel, and we pray.