This prayer appears in the Daily Devotion section of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer: “Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
I found it somewhat difficult to pray those words this morning. I began thinking about those who did not survive in safety to this new day. I began to feel the pain of the families of anyone wrongfully killed. They are asking, why didn’t God preserve our loved ones with His mighty power?
We may never fully understand what drives a person, or groups of people, to hate and kill. We will never fully reconcile ourselves to the reality that bad things happen to good people; worse yet, that good things happen to bad people. Forgiveness and reconciliation are by far more difficult to understand and embrace than many of us expected.
Then there is this reading from the Gospel according to Matthew: [Jesus said], “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:39)
History tells us that The United States of America was founded by Christians and modeled after Biblical principles. When our forefathers and national leaders adhered to Christian principles, the Country functioned well, not flawlessly, but well. When our forefathers and national leaders ignored Christian principles, things did not go as well. We have all experienced the decline of general care and concern for one another in our society, as have most societies of the world.
When seemingly ordinary people kill innocent people, often without motive, we are experiencing a mental health problem, not a weapons problem. People that want to hurt and kill other people will find a way to live-out that action.
Now more than ever, we need to recognize that all faith groups that claim to be Christian and are based on love and devotion to God and the mutual care of each other and all of creation are equally valid and valuable means of building a healthier, more functional, and sustainable society. Rather than focusing on the things that make us different, we should be focusing on working together to preserve life.
It may not be a coincidence that the increase of mental health problems has followed the decline in Church attendance and involvement. God has been taken out of the schools and the government and has systematically been taken out of or neglected in the home.
Our world needs less religion and more spirituality. Religion becomes a bubble where a person is either in or out. Spirituality opens up a wonderful world of faith, reconciliation, and ecumenism.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
555 E. Third Street | Grove, OK 74344