What Can the Church Do?
Here we sit, fewer than two weeks after a mass shooting in Buffalo, and we are mourning another horrific tragedy — made even worse by the fact that almost all of the victims were young children.
Loss of life brings sorrow at any age, but when children are the ones who perish, the level of anguish is heightened exponentially.
The fallout from these shocking events is both predictable and disheartening. It begins with shock and outrage, and is followed by finger pointing and eventually the all-too-familiar political acrimony.
Early on and throughout the grieving process there are vigils and well-intentioned promises of “thoughts and prayers.” This is all well and good, but it causes me to wonder if there is anything else the church and its members can do in times like these.
Certainly prayer is essential, followed by words of comfort and offers to ease the burdens of those who grieve through donations and other forms of outreach, but I am curious if there is a way that we can ramp up our efforts and have more of an impact before the next tragedy takes place.
The first five verses of I John 5 provide some insight about the value of obedience and the blessings that come with it: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Could it possibly be that simple? Can we possibly overcome the world and all the evil that exists in it just by loving God, loving his children, and keeping his commandments?
Well, if everyone embraces this call and actively lives accordingly, it is reasonable to think that we can at least mitigate, if not overcome evil. Unfortunately, not everyone will buy in.
Disobedience and disrespect run rampant in our nation and in our world, so to expect perfection is unrealistic. That won’t happen until he comes again in glory to judge all of humankind.
In the meantime, however, we can follow the passage from I John as a way of improving the world incrementally. In this way we are being proactive with our faith, honoring His Name, and showing others that we serve a living and active God who can make a difference in our world if we allow him to do so. A little bit of obedience goes a long way; a life of obedience goes all the way.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John