We extend our thank you Brendan Armitage and this extremely thought-provoking and faithful email devotion. Thank you, Brendan.
Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Some of us have seen this all before, although I cannot write that I was one of those persons. While I was born in the 1960’s, I guess I was around 2 years old when Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis in April of 1968. Two months later, in June of that same year of 1968, the presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy, who was JFK’s younger brother, was murdered in Los Angeles. The North Vietnamese launched their Tet offensive in September of 1968. There was death. There was murder. There was rioting. 1968 was an awful year. On the night Mr. King died in Memphis in April, there was rioting in over 100 cities in the United States. Mr Kennedy was on the campaign trail and spoke to an audience in Indianapolis about Mr. King’s assassination. It was a brief speech, only 4 1/2 minutes, but seems appropriate to our times, 52 years later. Mr Kennedy quoted the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus,
“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”— Aeschylus
He continued, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
Finally, Kennedy reiterated his belief that the country needed and wanted unity between blacks and whites. He encouraged the country to
“dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world.”— Robert F. Kennedy
As Lutherans, we are called to be healers of the world. We know that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is the bulwark of our faith. When others may feel only anger, or only despair, pray that we may have the patience, the compassion, the energy and the will to share the awe-inspiring (awful) grace of God. Pray that you may be an instrument of love, of peace, of understanding. We’ve been here before. May God help us and guide us to be better instruments of that peace this time.
See you in church.