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I’m very troubled by the news this morning. I’m sure that you are as well. In my sermon yesterday I talked about how heart-sick I am by the division and brokenness we see in our country. My first thought this morning was that I really don’t know what to say. What is there to be said in light of the senseless violence? What is there to be said in light of the divisions which exist? Then I thought, no, we need to continue to affirm what we believe to be true. We need to not only say with words, but practice in our lives what Jesus has taught us. At this time, more than ever, as followers of Christ, we need to embody what Scripture teaches us.

This Scripture was on my mind yesterday:

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:19-21, NIV)

Jesus said,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV)

I don’t say this to be simplistic, because I believe to put these teachings into practice is to live in a radically transformed way. I believe this is the life that we are called to. I think the Church as a whole in this country is being tested in an extraordinary way, and I think that this will be continuing. It is a time for us to work together, through God’s strength, to affect change in those areas where we can.

Yesterday, our worship song was “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” The last stanza says:

Our God, our help in ages past,

our hope for years to come:

O be our guard while troubles last,

and our eternal home.

I hope you’ll join with me for praying for an end to the division and the destruction that’s going on.

God bless, Brian

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