King David in Psalm 35 exhorted his Lord to send angels to drive away the enemies who persecuted him and intended harm for him. In this passage we can visualize those angels protecting David just as our angels in Orlando protected mourners from the hateful signs and chants of a hate group from Topeka, Kansas. Their behavior does not warrant being associated with the word Christian. As with the Orlando shooter, I refuse to give them any further publicity by giving them a name. They are nameless. YouTube and Wikipedia are teeming with that information.
“Let those who plan to destroy me
be turned back in terror.
5 Let them be like straw blowing in the wind,
while the angel of the Lord drives them away.
6 Let their path be dark and slippery,
while the angel of the Lord chases them.”
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“…….is an unaffiliated Baptist church known for its hate speech, especially against LGBT people, Catholics, Muslims, Jews and politicians. The church is categorized as a hate group and is monitored as such by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center ….some protests have included WBC members stomping on the American flag and/or flying the flag upside down on a flagpole.”
Let’s face it folks. These protestors follow Old Testament law rigidly. They base a belief system on Leviticus 20. Because the recipients of their brand of hate are so diverse and widespread it is obvious they have learned to read between the Biblical lines which they profess to believe. I guess when one has a direct hot line to God, when his/her Bible is inerrant and literal, that person can substantiate any theology he/she desires. Very few other congregations which label themselves as Baptist or Christian or Muslim or Judaic have attained this level of enlightenment.
Have you read Leviticus 20? It is lengthy. It is filled with death, blood, and stoning. It depicts a time when God came to dwell with the Israelites and established his law. Having just escaped slavery in Egypt, the tribe’s leaders (and God) eschewed anything Egyptian; customs, morals, habits, sexual mores. If the story is indeed true, life for Jacob’s people must have been anything but “a land flowing with milk and honey” which Moses had promised.
To Jesus followers and to most Christians, adherence to Old Testament law is in itself sinful considering that the new covenant instructs us to “love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself”. Twelve easy to understand words supersede the entire book of Leviticus. We may look to the Jewish scriptures for guidance and instruction but we are no longer bound by its law.
“If, therefore, the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” john 8:36
It’s that simple and I’m afraid the association of haters we have referred to in regard to the Orlando angels…well, I’m afraid they are mightily ticking off God almighty.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Tonight was one of those moments in life when existence takes on new meaning. We labor under daily drudgery, shattered dreams, and worldly turmoil. The moments which rekindle the fires that make life exciting and meaningful are to be cherished, embraced and remembered for future reference.
Tonight I participated in a prayer vigil for the Orlando victims, the 49 beautiful people who were gunned down while celebrating life and youth in a place which they considered to be a safe haven for the LGBT community. They gathered at Pulse to dance, sing, and party with peers who came from all walks of life, all professions, all creeds. They were murdered by a disturbed man who allegedly shared their passion but could not reconcile his religious tradition to their lifestyle.
America’s response has been predictable. There has been a great outpouring of sympathy and love for the friends, families and loved ones of the victims. God bless America. There has also been a response from radical Christian and Muslim sects cheering the deaths as the direct intervention of a vengeful God pouring his full wrath upon a sinful nation. And then there was Trump polarizing America, inciting even deeper Islamophobia among the voters.
But, tonight was a very personal directive in my life. Those 49 victims will not have died in vain as long as I have breath in my body. You see, almost 100 like-minded people were at that vigil. 100 people pledged to live life offering love, peace, honor, and respect to all races, all creeds, all ethnicities, all religions, and all sexual orientations. It’s not too late; we can save mankind from self-destruction and I will be an instrument of that saving peace. That is my personal promise to those who died too young in Orlando. They have not died in vain. They have inspired ordinary people at my vigil here in Smalltown, USA and vigils worldwide to stand up to the hate-mongers and the hatred they intend to spread. Our loving God of peace will prevail. Amen.