Based on Amos 5:10-24
I’m writing this Meditation in the wake of an unspeakable – but all too familiar – act of mayhem. Forty-nine people were murdered and an even greater number were injured by an angry and heavily armed young man at a bar in Orlando, Florida. Much can be said about that horrific act – the sixteenth such act since Barack Obama became President of the United States – but one thing in particular stood out for me.
When U.S. House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan called for a now obligatory “moment of silence” to remember those who lost their lives in a session of Congress, some members of the House walked out in disgust, others “shouted him down” and my friend and Congressman Jim Clyburn – whose District includes Mother Emanuel AME Church – asked when legislation for reasonable restrictions on gun ownership would be considered before Speaker Ryan ruled him out of order.
I commend those principled members of Congress for their justifiable and appropriate breach of “decorum.” They drew attention to what happens every time a gun is used to commit mass murder – an obligatory moment of “silence” followed by political “silence” on the need for gun control by elected officials who are more interested in staying in office than in doing what’s right.
I encourage those who read this Meditation to do better than those cowardly, self-serving elected officials. It’s easy, in a world that elevates the value of popularity and acceptance, to quietly ignore racial, cultural, religious, gender based and economic prejudice, to compliantly “go along to get along” and to accept things as they are instead of working to make things what they should be.
We’d do well to remember the Jesus who never accepted things as they were, who advocated for, elevated and encouraged those scorned by polite society and by the religious leaders of His day and who was executed primarily because He spoke truth to those in power.
Don’t limit your expression of faith to what you safely do in formal and comfortable weekly worship. Step out of your “comfort zone, walk in the footsteps of Jesus and make a difference in your community by standing up and speaking out, regardless of the cost. You’ll see new blessings, see lives changed, see justice and fairness for all of God’s children and understand why one hymn writer looked beyond the demands of a world that demands quiet conformity and said, “Only what you do for Christ will last.”