Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor
As we passed Easter 2016, or, if you prefer, Resurrection Day 2016. While not spending time and energy debating what to call it, I presume most people – Americans, at least – know what Easter stands for. Maybe not anymore. Watters, on Bill O’Reilly, interviewed young people at college, and some of them did not seem to know that Easter Sunday is a commemoration of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing so altered the course of history or turned society’s values on their head as did this one great event. “Pray for your enemies.” “Forgive them.” “Be reconciled to them.” Life before Jesus’ Resurrection knew little about forgiveness, especially of one’s enemies. Yet this is what Jesus taught his followers to do. And at the darkest moments – when he was suffering on the cross for our sins, his first words were “Father, forgive them.” This was so contrary to the values of the day, especially for those being crucified, that onlookers at the Cross exclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” How do we remain loyal both to the demand of the oppressed for justice and security, and to the gift of forgiveness that the Crucified offered to the perpetrators of the greatest injustice of all time? There is no simple “one size fits all” answer to the perplexity. We do know this – we are called upon to protect the helpless from oppressors and murderers. We know also that God does not abandon the godless to their evil but gives the divine Self for them in order to receive them into Divine fellowship through Atonement – so should we, whoever our enemies may be.