Pastor Jim Melvin
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
From the Prayer of St. Francis
It’s 3:00 AM in Wisconsin as I write this. I cannot sleep because of the violence which unfolded a few hours ago half way around the world in New Zealand, a country known as a peaceful haven of tolerance in a world gone crazy with hatred. There is no escape from the evil acts of hate-filled people.
In my thirty years as a pastor, I have struggled time and time again to explain or make some sense of violent crimes against innocent people. We have seen Amish children executed in a school house in Pennsylvania. We have watched peace loving Sikhs gunned down in Wisconsin. We witnessed the World Trade Center crumble before our eyes in New York City. Gays partiers were slaughtered in a night club in Florida, concert goers machine gunned in Las Vegas, and a synagogue turned into a killing field in Pittsburg. And that’s the short list. And now this.
Hatred is an equal opportunity killer. None of us is safe from its icy finger on the trigger of an assault rifle or handgun. It is an appropriate time during this dark night of the soul to repeat the words of Psalm 22 which Jesus cried out from the cross:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
In the morning, however, as the sunrise washes away some of the terrors of the night, let us literally get down on our knees and pray those first lines of St. Francis’ prayer as deeply as our hearts are capable: “Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love.” Amen.