Last night we began our Wednesday evening Lent series, “Becoming Peacemakers: Bringing the Violence of Humanity to God.” This series is not a program, but four liturgies in which we bring our violence and the violence of our world to God. Why the focus on violence? On its surface it is about violence, but it is ultimately about realizing our capacity to be instruments of God’s Peace in the world. So why address violence?
Reason #1: The Bible is filled with violence from beginning to end. The biblical story tells us that violence came on to the stage of human history in the very beginning. Cain, the first human being born of Adam and Eve, murders his brother, and it was all downhill from there. By Genesis 6, “the earth is filled with violence” and God’s heart is grieving and God is sorry that she made humankind in the first place.
Reason #2: The earth was filled with violence in the beginning and it still is today. Endless war. Terrorist attacks. Gun violence on our streets. Domestic abuse. The ever present (but often forgotten) threat of nuclear annihilation. Human trafficking. The violence of poverty. The list is endless.
Reason #3: At its best the church knows what we need to do with our violence: we need to bring it to God. The church’s response always begins by bringing our world and our lives to God in worship. If we want to become instruments of God’s reconciling power, we need to bring our anger, heartache, frustration and vengeance to God, and trust that God can take what we offer and give it back in life-giving ways.
Reason #4: One of the challenges of the present time is that we have become numb to violence. Another murder on our streets or terrorist attack has become ho-hum. These evening services will invite us to reconnect with those who suffer, and then bring that suffering to the God who bears our suffering on the cross.
Reason #5: We will only be peacemakers in this world if we are willing to deal with our own violence. If we don’t process our pain and anger in God’s presence, we are likely to project it on to others in destructive ways. The first step in making the world a more peaceful place is having the courage to address our own pain, fear, anger and desire for vengeance. In the words of Jesus, we need to notice the log in our own eye before we address the speck in somebody else’s eye (Mt. 7.3).
I hope you will join us for one or more of the remaining liturgies: Wednesdays, Feb 24 and March 2, 9 from 7:00—8:30 pm.