From the pen of Pastor Mindy …

Making sense of the senseless

As Christmas approached the nation tried to make sense of the senseless. Another killing rampage happened in our own backyard. But the youth of so many of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary was difficult to accept. It seemed like nothing so horrific had ever happened before, but it has.
Ecclesiastes tells us: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (1:9). There is nothing new with the killing of children. Exodus 1 tells us that Pharaoh commanded the midwives of Israel to kill any boy babies who were born. When that didn’t happen Pharaoh commanded the boy babies to be thrown into the Nile. They were senseless orders, a reaction to fear that the Israelites were too numerous, and would rise up against the Egyptians in a time of war.
The second chapter of Matthew tells that Herod, so jealous for his own power, commanded the slaughter of the innocents:  “When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.”  Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” (Matt 2:16-18)
Pain and suffering are all around us. I am not sure that there has been a day without violence in my lifetime. But it doesn’t mean I live without hope. The message of the Angels was this: “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:11-12
This is good news because God saw our need and came to bring us hope and joy. God didn’t wait until we had earned it or deserved it. God came because we needed Christ his Son right then and there. Christ came with a purpose, to give up his life so that God might conquer death.  Paul wrote in Romans 5: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
As a new year dawns, many of us will make resolutions to be new and improved versions of ourselves.  We process the events of the previous year, and make plans to change things for the better. But unless we choose carefully, and set up a coach or a mentor or some other person who will hold us accountable, most of our resolutions will fall by the wayside. “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.”  (Math 26:41)
But the likelihood of failure should not discourage us from trying. We may not keep our closets clear of clutter, but we may at least get them cleaned out.  Diets may not bring dramatic results but they might reverse the temporary gains of Christmas past. We may not send a handwritten note to everyone in our address book, but we may reach out to a few old friends and be the note of hope one of them needed. The New Year is a time for us to practice being the people we want to become.
In the face of violence we can resolve to be people who speak and act as peacemakers. We may fail, we will fail. But then we are called to try once more. We will never be able to make sense of the senseless. But in the face of violence, we can practice peace. May the New Year bring you blessings.
Your Sister in Christ
Pastor Mindy

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