How do we begin to respond to this act of hate and terrorism against those attending the Pulse Night Club in Orlando Florida?
First, perhaps we might respond in the same way our God responds. I believe we respond by being prayerfully present, not only suffering with those who are injured and weeping with those who have lost loved ones, but also grieving with the larger LGBTQ and Muslim communities who are hurting today in ways few of us can imagine. We respond by standing in mournful solidarity with all people who are hated for their faith, race, gender, economic status, or sexual orientation.
Secondly, I believe we respond by speaking out against the demonic evil that is intensifying in our world today in the form of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and all kinds of hateful bigotry.
May we remember the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who once said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” These words were spoken during another time in our history when the same demonic evil was rising, and a time, according to Dr. King, when many Christians, including pastors, chose to be “cautious” instead of “courageous” by remaining silently “behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.”
It is way past time for Christians who believe in love, believe that God is love, believe that Christ exemplified and commanded love, especially towards victims of hate and prejudice— it is past time for Christians who believe that we were created for such love to stand up and speak out for this love.
Name injustice and evil when you see it. Speak truth to power when it’s needed. Show great love even when it’s risky.
It is time to boldly and sacrificially bear witness to a grace that is so radical and a love that is so socially unacceptable that, according to Jesus, it will cause people, especially religious people, perhaps people in our own churches and families, perhaps our customers and clients, our friends and neighbors, to revile us, and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on his account.
It is time for Christians to no longer be ashamed of the gospel of the Christ who loves all and died for all and conquered evil for all.
Lastly, I believe we can respond to this tragedy, by doing what we can, where we can, when we can, in this present climate of hate to oppose any legislation or any political candidate that will not promise to defend and fight for the protection, the liberty and the justice for all people.
And all means all.
And may we fight this good fight fervently, yet kindly; fiercely, yet peaceably- with the certain hope knowing that our Bible, our faith, and even history itself, teaches us that evil will not prevail, hate will not have the final word, and the darkness will not overcome; because in the end, it is love that wins.
Love always wins.