I don’t want to do it.
I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who thoughtlessly jumps into the newsfeed fray. I don’t know what I could ever say to those who are grieving; to those who are angry. To those who are hurt or lost.
What can I say that will not be said better, or hasn’t already been sufficiently said by others who are much more capable with words that I could ever hope to be?
Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I have a question:
Are you prepared?
Are you prepared to pray for the victims in Orlando that died at the hands of a deranged gunman?
Are you prepared to offer comfort and words of peace and encouragement in such a dark time as this?
Are you prepared to love these hurting people, from near or far, as you voraciously condemn such unthinkable violence?
I hope the answer to all of those questions is “yes.” And if you already are or have done these things, then that is wonderful.
I asked myself those questions for just the briefest of moments yesterday. Right after my young family and I spilled out of the doors of our church and into our waiting van on a hot late spring day, as my husband told me moments later what he had heard about on the news and my stomach turned sour with sadness.
As the sun was coming up yesterday morning, and I was contemplating about whether or not I wanted to sit on the porch and enjoy my coffee or simply linger in bed for thirty more minutes, people’s now shattered lives were slowly being pieced back together, bit by bloody bit. Parents were receiving the worst news imaginable, information that any parent has had nightmares about, or trying in vain to reach unaccounted for loved ones in the aftermath.
Afterwards, I’m not sure why I asked myself that question at all.
Because the answer seems quite plain to me now.
Maybe because it’s almost taboo in some instances to reach out to members of the LGBTQ community and love them when you are someone who also finds yourself in a church pew on Sundays.
I wonder, to some, how that might look. I do. I let that question and my doubt eat away at me. I pray about it. I ponder it.
But this isn’t about me.
Then I wondered: What about those members and figureheads of the body of Christ who spoke up and condemned the bathroom situation at Target much sooner than they seemed to condemn the violence perpetuated against the terrorized patrons of a night club in Florida…many of whom also happened to be members of the gay community?
I wrote this post last Christmas about the red cup controversy at Starbucks, and about how I prided myself on being one of the ones who was actually not offended by a cup with plain red sides, because I was a “real” christian who had bigger issues to worry about.
But then I realized that I’m also the person who sometimes cuts her eyes at the checkout lady at the grocery store when she doesn’t say “hello” as chipper as I would like for her to.
I realized that I’m also the person who angrily pounds on the steering wheel of my van and sneers out through my windshield when my way is blocked by a slow turning school bus and I miss the traffic light.
I realized that I am also the person who sneers and backbites over the most common and simple of inconveniences before I return to my air conditioned home with a fully stocked fridge and the arms of four people who love me.
I realize that I’m a person who claims to be a lot of things when in actuality, I am no better or worse than anyone else. I realized that I am a person who is sometimes afraid to speak up for fear of making anyone on either side angry.
So then I asked myself one more question, one more time:
Am I comfortable enough with the extravagant grace of the gospel so as to preach, with a full-throat and the blood pumping hot in my chest, that Jesus LOVES those people who lost their lives or were injured last night?
Am I willing to be a member of the body of Christ who still stand up at a time like this, and tell my friends, who might also happen to be members of the LGBTQ community, that I love them, and that Jesus loves them? That Jesus died for people such as these, and for me and for you and your neighbor and your mailman and the pizza delivery guy and the garbage man and the CEO on Wall Street?
And that there is room for all believers at the feet of the one who gave it all?
That there is no caveat to His love. There is no “but only if…”, there is no, “as long as.”
And, more importantly, am I willing to do that every single day?
Or does it make us uncomfortable to think that even if someone potentially sins differently than we do that they may yet still receive the same lavish grace as we have… because it isn’t up to us?
The church has become a voice that condemns the lack of “Merry Christmas’s” said by the bag lady when checking out at the grocery store, and also a body that is seemingly content to let the hateful voices of the Westboro Baptist Church be its mouth piece by proxy.
Where is the voice of the church rising up as one that says that in these darkest hours, to a community of people who struggle to find greater acceptance every day, that those of us in the body of Christ believe that there is most certainly room them?? In our churches. In our neighborhoods. In our homes. In our hearts.
That we will comfort them as we have been comforted. That we will love others as we have been most assuredly been loved. This is the mission field, folks. It is time to act like we are actually on the mission that Christ charged us with. Being afraid to rock the boat is no longer an option.
Are we willing to do exactly those things, no matter what, not just on days like today but every single day?
This isn’t a time to change your profile picture on Facebook to something suitable. This isn’t a time where simple platitudes will be sufficient. This is the time for us to show WHO we are, not because we are anything special, but who we are as only we can be in Christ.
With Christ IN us.
And so, the hope for the hope of glory.
***For those who are able, you can make donations to the victims and the families of victims from the Orlando nightclub shooting here.
If you are in the Orlando area, here is how and where you can help the victims.***