And so it happens again, this time in a church. People are gathered to worship. Children playing with friends. Adults enjoying conversation. There is music and prayer. A community has come together in the name of the Lord, Jesus.
A man, boiling with hatred enters the sanctuary and begins firing a weapon which has as its sole purpose the taking of human life. It performs flawlessly. Twenty-six brothers and sisters of the Kingdom are dead with another twenty injured. The illusion of safety in this world, if such an illusion persisted, is shattered in a tiny town in Texas.
Another mass shooting. Days before, a worshiper of a demon god (certainly no righteous deity could have inspired such an act) murders eight innocents with a rented truck in New York. Before that, 58 killed in Las Vegas. Elsewhere in the world, acts of cowardly inhumanity are standard fare. Hatred has gone viral.
The Clock Ticks Toward Midnight
We Kingdom dwellers need to carefully guard our response. It is all too easy to be caught up in debates about gun control, the roots of terrorism or domestic violence. I learned recently that such debates easily ignite small conflagrations that burn with acrimony. I had carelessly posted a remark about demon gods being the inciting spiritual influence behind the situation in New York. I did so without elaboration or explanation. It was cathartic. I had spoken my mind. Howled my indignation. Surely, I was justified and it felt good. Soon I became aware I had inadvertently kindled among my friends one of those heated discussions. Moreover, I realized that what had emerged from my carelessness was a tiny microcosm of the very event I had decried in my original post. Violence and hatred can scar city streets or wound human hearts. No matter which, it is the same virus, only a question of degrees.
Sadly, it is not. But we who live here between the worlds can use the events that happen around us to incite us to peace, and invite us to mercy. Debates and discussions will not serve in a world approaching midnight. We need to let hatred and offense remind us to love one another and to extend that love to those outside wherever we can. The weapons of our warfare are not assault rifles or crippling arguments, they are acts of love and hearts turned toward the coming of the Kingdom.