This was a week filled with debate over many of the most devisive issue in our country. What has been so sad is not the intensity of the debate but the vitriolic language. We should hold passionately to our beliefs, but if we are Christians that passion must always be tempered with love. That means real love not a thin veneer of love over a hardened heart.
We need to hear the words from the Book of Wisdom that are in our first reading today. It takes us back to the most basic truths of our faith. The truth that goes back to the moment God created the first human being. It reminds us that every one of the more than 7 billion people on the planet earth today were created not by their parents alone but by God. That each of the 7 billion + were formed in the same way and for the same purpose.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying... For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.
Each person was formed "wholesome." Each was made in "the image of his own nature." Each was formed "to be imperishable."
God created each one of the 7 billion for one purpose, to live forever in his presence. Today's reading opens and closes by reminding us,
God did not make death...But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world....
God created us to live forever not only with him but with each other. So we had better be prepared to spend eternity next to anyone God chooses.
The good news is that the families of the victims of the Charlston massacre modeled true Christianity. They were able to hold fast to the truth of the heinous nature of the crime, and simultaneously show us the meaning of the word agape.
This week has reminded us that we have a long way to go before we are "one nation under God." We have truly important issues that we need to discuss and debate. But for those of us who call ourselves Christians, every time we enter into that discussion, every time we engage in that debate, we must pause and look with the eyes of faith and see the image God in the face of the other person. Perhaps then we can listen more than we speak. And we we speak, speak the truth with such tenderness and compassion that it can be heard.
As we read from the Book of Wisdom let us pray that God will pour out upon our nation a Spirit of Wisdom.