Violence

“Violence produces . . .”
 

The day of disaster is coming. Violence is flourishing. Pride is at its height.  Violence produces more wickedness. Nothing of theirs will remain, nothing of their wealth, their splendor, or their glory.” (Ezekiel 7:10-11)

The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy.  Patti and I made a quick trip to celebrate our granddaughter’s second birthday, spent a week with our youth group in Boston, and now are attending the annual conference for our church.  I snapped the picture of the peacock while we were visiting our granddaughter.  She took us on another trip to the zoo.  Seemed like every time I turned around this same peacock was standing there fanning its plumage.  Research tells me that his display could be either a “yoohoo” to the ladies and/or a “don’t mess with me” signal for the rest of us.  For all of his fanning, I failed to see a flock of hens gathering around him.  When I got too close while taking a photo, he squawked at me but nothing more.

Because I’ve been so busy and traveling, I haven’t had a chance to keep up with much of the news.  However, it seems like during the last couple of weeks what I’ve seen flash across my cell phone as bulletins have been shooting, after shooting, after shooting.  I’ve lost track of the number of sites and deaths.  It got me wondering about what we “display” in the face of such violence.  The prophet’s words are startling in the wake of such violence, “The day of disaster is coming. Violence is flourishing. Pride is at its height.  Violence produces more wickedness.”  I see more and more violence, and pride that seems to keep us from exploring solutions. 

With so much violence, I really have to ask myself what I need to display for others to see.  Should I find a gun and publish a photo of myself standing in front of the church doors?  Should I get a new sign that says, “Don’t Mess With Us,” to use when I stand on the street corner with a sign that normally says, “Come Visit Us?”  Should I display my anger when others offend me by slicing them to shreds with a razor sharp tongue and bombastic voice?  Should I display my fear by teaching my flock how to survive by building a fortress to keep us in and everyone else out?  Should I display my arrogance and pride by suggesting I’m superior to others?

I’m convinced that we all need to give serious thought to what we should display.  The Jesus I know and follow displayed acceptance, love, peace, hope – and righteous anger only when some would try to deny God’s peace, justice, and hope to all.  We live in dangerous times.  I fear these are times similar to those the prophet Ezekiel was describing.  Will we learn from history, or continue to meet violence with more pride and violence?  I pray that God will help me display peace, justice, and hope.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.
My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on June 12, 2014.

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