Archive for June, 2016

Pulse: A Response

The Pulse: A Response
Fr. Larry

When I am asked what I think about the slaughter at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I don’t have much of an initial response. Like the killing of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, or the heartless and deadly violence visited on that welcoming shared Scripture study in Charleston, I just feel the horror, the sorrow, the insanity that is too intense for words. Mainly I just hold the injured, and the dead, and the suffering, and the grieving and the people of our country in the silence of my heart without words or thought and hope, that in spite of my being a sinner God will hear my Saint Francis Prayer.

And sometimes, viewing the world through the lenses of an old man who has seen evil as it seems to grow exponentially in our world, I remember what E. Stanley Jones, the Methodist clergy person and five-time nominee for the Noble Peace Prize, wrote seventy years ago in 1946:

The outer arrangements of humanity are awry, because the inner arrangements of humanity are awry. For the whole of the outer arrangements of humanity rest upon the inner. The breakdown in international comity is due to the breakdown in something back behind the economic and political – a breakdown of the spiritual. . . The outer collapse is simply an outer expression of a more serous inner collapse.

Jones went on to write that, “People cannot get along with each other because they cannot get along with themselves, and they cannot get along with themselves because they cannot get along with God.

What more is there to say? Well one thing we can say without fear of Biblical contradiction, is that people like the Baptist Preacher who rejoiced in the Pulse nightclub killings, do not have a Christian experience of God – are not Christian. If you need, as the old brothers and sisters of the poor little church I grew up in used to put it, “chapter and verse,” then you might begin with a meditation on Matthew 7:15-16; John 13:34-35; or, Matthew 5:43-44.

When I look into the night sky what I see above me is a great darkness with little pinpoints of light scattered across that infinite expanse. And what I do know without a doubt is that not only each individual Christian, but also each community of faith, is called to be a light in the darkness by which “wretched humanity” in all its despair, to use Br. Mark’s phrase from The Cadfael Chronicles, has the opportunity to be guided to a better and living way.

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