The other day, I was reminded that German theologian Karl Barth said that we need to have the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. To me, personally, that means we need to be aware of what is going on in this world and hold it in perspective to what we know to be true in God's Word. To align our reactions and actions based on what we have been told in the Bible.
In no other recent action have I seen this play out more fully than the prayer vigil I virtually attended last night that was held by my friends at Monte Vista Presbyterian Church. Here pastors and community members came together both in person and online to remember the victims of the recent shootings in Buffalo and Laguna Woods.
What struck me so deeply was that this was not just about honoring those lost and injured and praying for their families but it was a demonstration of how we honor their lives and the lives of so many who have been subjected to the many evils that live with us here on earth through our own actions and reactions following these senseless and tragic events.
Bishop Broderick Huggins brought a reflection of how we could rightfully hold on to our anger based on horrific things that have happened to our families and ourselves through the generations. However, he countered all these things with a similar call to Karl Barth's to keep the Bible in our hand at all times and remember that Jesus called us to pray "thy will be done," not our will be done.
God's will is not for us to answer violence with violence. It is not to reply to hurt with more hurt. It is not to resort to retaliation. It is to lift the hand that holds the Bible and through prayer and positive responses to allow His will to be done and bring about meaningful healing and reconciliation.
We have been called to be the light to others. These most evil of events cause us often to move into a place of darkness, forgetting that call, and reacting with evil for evil...whether in thought only or in actual physical action. In order to be the light we have been called to be, we need to lift up high the hand that holds God's Word and dive the into many ways we are called to overcome all the evil that is present in our world today. The hand that holds the newspaper is the hand that holds the darkness we are to overcome. The hand that holds God's Word is the hand that holds the light. Balancing the newspaper and Bible hands gives us the opportunity to respond to those things which are out of our control by coming together and showing the world "thy will be done" is more than just a line in a prayer. It is the way to overcome and bring about positive changes after tragedy strikes our communities and our lives.
"Holding up your hands,
Observe The Way to respond,
Light shine in darkness."