After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
My Friends in Christ,
My blog today may be long and rambling.
When I was in junior high and my first year of high school my family lived on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My father was stationed at a Naval Training Center located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh close to Carnegie-Mellon University. Oakland was close to Squirrel Hill.
What I remember about Squirrel Hill is that it was the Jewish area of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was a city made up of many ethnic sections such as Jewish, German, Italian and Polish. It was the first time I remember being exposed to a city with these types of neighborhoods. It was also the first time I was exposed to the word “deli”.
We had moved to Pittsburgh from the deep south. My Father had requested the transfer to Pittsburgh since my brother’s doctor was the chief of surgery at the children’s hospital in Pittsburgh.
In the deep south, I was exposed to racism. I saw it the first time when there was a sign in a laundromat which read, “Whites Only”. There were segregated schools, white children not allowed to play with black children and so on.
When I moved to Pittsburgh, I don’t remember such overt racism. I was probably too young and naïve to notice the more covert racism.
The events in Squirrel on October 27 are beyond shocking.
Another mass shooting.
Another racist act of hate.
Again, blaming another group for one’s personal misery.
When does it end?
All I can do is redirect us to biblical teaching that racism is not tolerated. We are called to care for the “fatherless, the widow, the poor and the alien”.
Galatians 3:28 tells us: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV)
One of the Bible passages this Sunday states: “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9, NRSV)
There is also this passage: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NRSV)
At times like these, I can only be comforted by the knowledge that Christ came into this unloving world and loved that same world. He loved it so much that he gave his life for it on the cross.
Christ’s death and resurrection shows that hate does not have the final word. The love of Christ has the final word. May that love continue to overcome the hate of this world.
In Christ’s Love,
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, Californi