By Reverend David McCoy
As I begin to write this article, my soul is uneasy and my mind is conflicted. I believe that many Christians are searching for peace and resolution regarding the violence that has plagued our cities, towns, communities, and churches. It would be entirely convenient for someone or some persons to come up with a quick solution that would resolve all of the animosity, hatred, hurt, anger, jealousy, and guilt that seems to be increasing exponentially.
There is so much information, disinformation, and misinformation available that there appears to be a rationale for almost any behavior. We certainly do not lack for charlatans, swindlers, snake oil peddlers and hirelings who suggest if we would just take this pill, read that book, or meditate on the stars, everything would be fine and the world would reach nirvana, that is, freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry, and the external world. All of this would occur, of course, after a small donation.
There are some schools of thought that suggest each citizen, regardless of education, social, political, or economic status only looks out for their own interests. While this suggestion for those who are completely honest has merit, it does not quell my anxiety or calm my spirit.
We as Christians are guilty of feeding programs, clothes closets, and many, many more philanthropic benevolences. Those enlisted, who attend the school of thought mentioned above would say that all these altruistic actions do much to make us feel better but does little or anything significant and change few lives comparatively.
So are there soluble answers to the senseless morass of violence and lack of respect for life? I once asked one of my seminary professors if the world was spinning, downwardly spiraling in an out-of-control vortex so much so that nothing we Christians did would make a difference? He answered, “I don’t know, what do you think?” I said, “It appears so.”
Friends, I give God glory that I no longer feel that the collective soul of humanity is lost, or spiraling down uncontrollably. I now believe that the brokenness we are experiencing—the violence, hatred, racism, and oppression—are part of the human condition. Unfortunate and un-tasteful as our actions, behaviors, and reactions are, it is an expression of our human frailty.
We are human—complex, broken, confused, and hurting for more reasons than can be listed in this article. However, I am reminded of a sermon I heard from one of our newly elected Bishops of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Sherman Lewis. Bishop Lewis used 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 to remind us that we are God’s treasure in jars of clay and that light shines bright through cracked jars.
What does quiet my soul, gives me joy, hope, and peace is that through it all God shines brightly through the cracks and brokenness of our lives and that we as God’s children, may be hard pressed on every side but not crushed, and confused but not depressed.
We of ourselves will never deter man’s inhumanity to man, but if we are willing to sacrifice, raise our consciousness, act in a spirit of high cooperation, denying the fetters and chains of vested emotional ignorance, breaking down the barriers that hold each captive to their own dysfunction, then we can change the world.
We will know God’s love and we will be known by our Christian love, acknowledging each other as worthy, valuable, and unique creatures of God—all deserving of the highest quality of life possible.
My prayer is that we ask the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers of His love into the vineyards. Amen.
Reverend David McCoy is a graduate of Mississippi State University and Memphis Theological Seminary. He presently pastors Central United Methodist Church in Jackson. He and his wife Brenda recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. They are the parents of two sons.