It’s been a rough week for our country. It has been a rough week for me as I continue to ponder and listen to where I need to be in life right now. It’s rough hearing a lot of things in the world of instant gratification, notifications on my iPhone, text messages, TV, radio; just typing all of these words, it’s exhausting!
For some, worship is their time away from the sounds of life and able to set aside that weekly worship time to get to know the Almighty even better. Other disagree that it needs to be daily–I’m not trying to debate. I’m simply offering a new perspective: JESUS KNOWS.
Last week, a despicable act occurred in which 49 lives were lost in Orlando, Florida. Generally, I would think that this would bring the United States together; but instead, our government leaders could not find middle ground. Televangelists have told people that it was imminent because of the young people’s sexual orientation.
Today, in the United States, a celebration of Father’s Day–a day of remembrance, celebration, and thanksgiving for the male parental guidance. Today, the 49 victims of Orlando cannot tell their fathers “Happy Father’s Day” and the victim’s fathers cannot celebrate their fatherhood as the “average” celebration entails. It’s sad, angry, and frustrating that a tragedy like this cannot seem to bring people together and allow people to heal in their ways.
Jesus knows this pain. He knows how we feel in times of not being able to celebrate our fathers and Jesus knows that it is traumatic when a father/child are abandoned. Look at the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 or Jesus yelling out, in agony, “Father, why have you forsaken me?!” (Matthew 27:46).
In the midst of this troubling Father’s Day for some, and in the celebration of Father’s Day, may we look to Jesus–that He knows! Jesus knows our pain–God became human to know our pain. Jesus knows that we are hurting when people die–Jesus wept when Lazarus died. Jesus knows what it is like when government cannot agree–He called out the government several times. Jesus knows what it is like to be abandoned. Jesus knows.
This brings me comfort in this sad, frustrating, and crazy country we call the United States. Comfort in knowing that Jesus knows where I am in my thinking and Jesus knows that it is okay to feel this way–that’s why God also became human. Jesus says that we can come to Him because we are weak, and heavy laden, in which we can find rest. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to come to Jesus on this Father’s Day; however, Jesus also shows that we can take out time in returning to Him (my interpretation of the Prodigal Son).
In the midst of this time of unrest and troubled landscape, may we call upon the unconditional love of Jesus and show that to everyone we come across. May we share the love to the people of Orlando. Share love over hate to the LGBT community. Share love to the people who have been tossed about in the church. Share love to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are being unjust victims in our media. Share love to our pastors who don’t know how to respond in a clear and understanding way. Share love to our political leaders who don’t see an issue. Share love with the leaders when they can’t seem to show love and compassion. Share love to our presumptive presidential candidates when they may say/do things that we don’t agree. Love is an action word that is disciplined over time. Love the fathers who have lost their children in Orlando. Love the fathers who have not taken responsibility for their actions. Love the children who are lost in the foster care system. Love. Simply love.
Let us pray.
God of peace and comfort, we come before you seeking courage and hope as your people.
We pray for your church, that our voice may be strong and clear, as we strive to bring an end to violence and hatred. Give su courage to act in love, mercy, and peace in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Open the hearts and minds of those who are in positions of power, and grant us faithfulness and perseverance in our cause to create a safe and just world for all.
We pray for first responders, for police and EMTs, for heath care workers, for citizens who response to those in need, and all who sacrifice much to service the common good.
We pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters, that in this time of tension and unrest we remember that we are all beloved children of God.
We pray for those who inspire hatred, for those governed by fear, and for all considering acts of violence toward others that their hearts may be changed. We ask forgiveness for the violence we have committed in our lives in thought, word, and deed.
We pray for all who are afraid, and all who mourn. we pray for those throughout history who have suffered violence and death because of their sexual orientation or expression, remember especially those who were killed in Orlando.
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races and sexual orientations and genders may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.