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We Won’t Accommodate Evil

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“I would say about individuals, an individual dies when he ceases to be surprised. I am surprised every morning that I see the sunshine again. When I see an act of evil, I’m not accommodated. I don’t accommodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere; I’m still surprised. That’s why I’m against it, why I can hope against it. We must learn how to be surprised. Not to adjust ourselves. I am the most maladjusted person in society.”

– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

 

I read this scripture and prayed this prayer at a Prayer Vigil our church held in response to yet another senseless mass shooting.  May we never accommodate ourselves the violence.

It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

– 2 Corinthians 4:6-18

Let us pray:

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer God, You spoke a word and light shone in the darkness.  You sent your Son, Christ, the light of the world, to overcome even death itself.  You sent the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, to raise us to new life even now.

We believe.  We want to believe.  Help us in our unbelief.

We pray for the victims of violence in our city and around the world, That the injured would be healed, That those who have lost loved ones would be consoled in their pain, Comfort the suffering and make them whole.  Grant courage to those who are afraid.  Give strength to those who feel weak.  Afford patience to those who are afflicted.  Offer hope to those who are lost.  Move us to the side of those who are alone.  When death comes, open your arms to receive them, and us.

We believe.  We want to believe.  Help us in our unbelief.

With confidence that you are a just Judge, the One who died for all, and with trembling that we too must give an account for the way we’ve spent our life. Forgive us where we have wronged others, for all the things we have done, and left undone.  We pray forgiveness for our enemies, that they may feel the utter pain of the evil they have caused in this world, so that they may feel remorse for the injury they have caused the innocent, so that they may turn from their evil ways and find the forgiveness of Christ, until the word “enemy” is removed from our knowledge, and there is no more us and them, but only peace in Christ.

We believe.  We want to believe.  Help us in our unbelief.

Though we may not be united in wisdom regarding what action to take in response to violence, yet we gather together as one in prayer, as we pray the prayer Christ taught us saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.

We believe.  We want to believe.  Help us in our unbelief.

Amen.

Because faith and prayer must move us to action, please take time to read the United Methodist Call to End Gun Violence, found here.

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