“This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly. So it’s a very, very – a very difficult situation.” President #DonaldTrump (Fox News – https://fxn.ws/2JtWNFe)
I read this quote the other day and shook my head. Guns in places of worship? Seems to be the popular answer to our mass murder crisis. Maybe some places need armed guards but guns do NOT belong in church. It is antithetical to the teachings of our Master Jesus. Jesus was arrested by the Temple guards, crucified by armed soldiers and never resisted.
A few months ago Beth and I visited a church, found our seats, and began to people gaze. I spotted a man carrying a gun in plain sight. To my dismay, when the service started, he led the worship. Singing about trusting Jesus, going to heaven, loving people, all while strapped with a sidearm. At the middle of the service, ushers came forward. Two of them had guns. Finally, the pastor got up to speak and was packing as well. I told Beth; “We will never be coming back to this church. Even if a gun-toting person with evil on their mind busted in here we would probably be shot by the church posse!”
A long time ago a menacing, sword and ax-wielding, warrior entered a town to terrorize the people. Everyone fled except the priest at the town church. The warrior made his way to the holy man’s location, kicked open the doors, and stomped to the altar where the priest was praying. He screamed at the humble servant of God, threatened him with his sword, grabbed the priest by the throat and snarled; “Don’t you know I am a man who can kill you without giving it a second thought?!?!” The priest looked into the eyes of the warrior and softly responded; “Don’t you know I am a man who can be stabbed by you today and not give it a second thought?”
The church is called to love, pray and live like Christ. We can’t do this with armed guards, guns, or by any other violent means. To live like Christ is to also die like Christ; humble, prepared and showing Christ with our last breath.
“One must be chaste, sober and merciful.
Exalt mercy above judgment,
that one may obtain mercy.
Love the brothers and sisters.
In administering correction
one should act prudently and not go to excess,
lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
one breaks the vessel.
Keep one’s own frailty ever before their eyes
and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.”
Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 64
No Earthly Good –
I believe this is such a beautiful description of leadership. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this section of the Rule of Saint Benedict (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Saint_Benedict) over the years that I’ve been a Benedictine Oblate, (http://www.osb.org/obl/intro.html) but each time it speaks to me in the deepest of places.
I think it stirs my spirit today because of the leadership changes we will soon have in our nation. No matter which side of the political landscape you occupy, it’s hard to make an argument that our President-Elect personifies the above description, or is a Christlike model.
This worries me. It worries me because of what it emboldens in others. Too often, harsh, rash, unbalanced leadership doesn’t cause people to reflect but to react. If you’re for a more “strong, forceful, expect respect, my way or the highway” type of leading and now witness that it can take you to the most powerful position on the planet you might be tempted to adopt the; “might equals right” attitude you are witnessing. If you’re on the other side you may take a forceful, coercive stance to object and resist.
I worry about my brothers and sisters who are so politically minded they aren’t much Kingdom good. They don’t, can’t see Jesus in our new leadership and don’t seem to be looking very hard.
So, I worry, reminded that the Master says; “Do not worry.” Though our Teacher does not personify worldly power his Kingdom will never pass away.