"for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 NRSV
This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone in the United States recently; these months of pandemic and quarantine, followed by the racially motivated recent deaths of three persons of color. The most recent, the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer.
On Monday of this week, I attended the peaceful prayer vigil with Brockton area clergy, the mayor, and the police chief at City Hall. You could feel God's presence and the Holy Spirit moving in the prayers offered. Yesterday, I attended a rally at West Junior High School, a larger but still very peaceful gathering. Everyone, there was united in acknowledging the horrible murder of George Floyd, but also recognizing that change must come about peacefully. Frequently throughout the rally, the group was reminded that any misbehavior was not endorsed and would not be tolerated. The despicable and cowardly acts of the rioters later that evening was not a representation of the unity of peace at the rally.
In Paul's second letter to Timothy, his son in Christ, he encourages him to be courageous in sharing the Gospel. He was not to be ashamed but to speak boldly, even if this led to persecution for the sake of Christ.
We have the same responsibility. We know the world is in pain right now. The carnal ways of the world provides no lasting answers, it only offers injustice, hate, chaos, and a fleeting sense of power. As Christian's we know without reservation there is only one answer, and that answer is God! As a church universal, it is time for us to stand infilled with the power of the Holy Spirit and exhibit to the world the justice, love, peace -- and yes, self-discipline and self-examination that comes from being a true follower of Christ.
Father God, we come to you today a broken and contrite people. We know we have failed in loving others as we should, and we have failed in sharing the message of your love. Forgive us we pray and help us through the power of the Holy Spirit act with power, love, and self-discipline. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.