An 8 year-old commits suicide. Worshippers are shot and killed at prayer meeting. Pig’s blood is thrown at a house of worship and swastikas are painted on others. Churches are burned to the ground. If this were happening in our family or church family we would be horrified.
Thing is, it has and is happening in our family. Jesus defined family as those who followed him – those who walk the path of faith he forged. We are united as family – the human family, U.S. Citizens, faithful believers. But how many times do we thank God for sparing us specifically and move on with our day?
Such atrocities make the news and stay in headlines for a day, maybe a week, or the length of a trial. And as horrible as the events are, another horror exists … a lack of concern or empathy when someone of another race is targeted. The little boy was African American. The worshippers were African American. Pig’s blood was thrown at a mosque and swastikas have been painted on synagogues.
The prophet Micah, way back in history, said, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?”
In the Small Catechism (a collection of questions and answers), Martin Luther takes the idea of obeying the commandments one step further. Don’t just avoid a horrible deed, but help and protect those affected. For instance. “You shall not murder.” Luther says, “We are to fear and love God so that we neither endanger or harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead, help and support them in all of life’s needs.”
The world can change. Sometimes even a small step makes a difference. Refrain from a race-based joke, support causes that protect all religions. Worship at a different spot one weekend. Engage conversations with those different from you. May we truly do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.