One of the duties that Tom and I are often privileged to be able to do is to raise and lower the flag at the start and end of the work day. Sometimes (too often it seems) we have to put the flag at half staff, signifying that our nation is in mourning. Today the flag is at half staff again.
In the last couple of weeks four precious, wonderful friends of mine have died. They died on different days and for different reasons, but my heart is heavy and I have been mourning. There are enough people dying without crazy people in the world who think that it is all right to kill people because they are acting in ways that go against someone’s belief. As a pastor, people would sometimes ask me why God allowed something to happen. God allows it because God expects us to know better. God expects those of us that follow him to do better, live better, love better.
I have seen it and heard it much too often. Christians who defend our rights to “bear arms.” Christians who demand that we condemn others because of life choices or biological choices. People who, in the name of Jesus, close their minds, their hearts, and their lives to people who are different. This grieves my heart – and I am sure it breaks the heart of God.
Who did Jesus condemn? He condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees who thought they were righteous. He condemned them because they hung onto laws so tightly they had no room to love him in their hearts. Instead, he spent time with “tax-collectors and sinners.” They knew how to keep their hearts open to God and to people who were different.
The flag is at half staff again and so we mourn. We mourn for those who have lost loved ones. We mourn when sin is victorious. We mourn when hate gains the upper hand. And we confess that we have not loved as we ought; we have left undone those things which we should have done and touched things that we should have left alone. Christ have mercy.