Pastor’s Corner – April

Gleanings – April 2023

I am not sure where this is going, so I will jump in and see what comes about.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and we will gather to wave our palms, sing our songs of praise, hear the message of Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem, and make our final preparations for the week leading up to Easter Sunday.  Through all of this we will give thanks for the gift that Jesus brought from God, our Father.  The awareness that our sins are forgiven, that we have been blessed with the Holy Spirit, and that we have an assurance of God’s love to sustain us through every difficult time will bless us and fill us with great joy.  It is THE celebration of the Church and we know that it is a blessing and that we are to communicate it to those in need of help, healing, and hope.

A woman shot her way into a church-run elementary school this week and killed three adults and three children.  I read a report that one of the news networks said they were tired of reporting school shootings.  Good.  I’m tired of hearing that another shooting has destroyed homes, families, and communities.  I get the sense from other sources that I am not the only one who is weary of hearing explanations and excuses from people who did not lose a family member, friend, or relative in the latest savage attack.  But, at this time, I am not sure what can or should be done.  Stop the killing?  Yes, but how?

Jesus talked with people everywhere he went.  It did not matter whether he knew them or not, helping people to find their way through the struggles of life under the Roman occupation forces and the issues of correct religious observance left many feeling alienated and hurt.  Had there been the availability of handguns and rifles of any style, I expect there would have been more bloodshed recorded in the Bible.  What would Jesus have done in that situation?

I wonder whether there is a solution to the killings.  Whether one on one, one on many, or many upon many, killing seems to offer a solution to having to deal with people we do not like, situations we cannot control, and the pain that accompanies physical and emotional trauma.  Regardless of what lies at the heart of our struggles, we act all too often with violence believing that we will be/feel better if we can just eliminate the source of our hurt and pain.  Note that these acts of violence do not depend upon the presence of firearms.  When seeking to stop the pain, almost anything can be used as a weapon.  Getting rid of weapons is not the answer.

I asked earlier, “What would Jesus have done in that situation?”  I believe the answer is, “Just what he did.”  As the Son of God and the Son of Man, he knew us better than we will ever be able to know ourselves.  In the face of sure and certain persecution and death, he walked straight into it.  Violence promotes violence.  The response to killing is often more killing.  We believe that we will feel better when we have made the other person, group, nation, or people feel worse.  Jesus knew that what was truly needed was forgiveness.

Where does forgiveness come from and what enables it to make a difference?  (Forgiveness is not acting like it never happened.  Neither does it mean to release the person who committed the violence from all consequences.  Instead, it is a conscious decision to refrain from exacting retribution.)  Using Jesus as my model, I believe that forgiveness is possible only after we know the one(s) we need to forgive.  Who they are, how they came to this place in their life, and what led them to take this action are important questions that must be asked.  With some approximation of what lies behind their actions, we can offer help and healing through building relationships.  When we are convinced that someone truly cares for us and about us, that they  will help us bear our pain, we can experience hope for ourselves and our situations.

The events that took place during Jesus’ last week are painful to read, as are the reports of yet another shooting.  Imagining that people could be that cruel seems incomprehensible.  Yet, Jesus suffered their worst actions and showed the world that death is not the end.  With mercy, compassion, and love, Jesus has set us free from our pain, our injuries (self-inflicted or otherwise), and our brokenness.  Who do you know who needs to experience this gift of God in their lives.  May Jesus shine through your life and lead you to those who need him so that they may come to know him.


Pastor Braxton ><>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s