St. Andrew's UMC
Sunday, March 29, 2015
A Friendly, Caring Church

The Excuse of Religion

      The news reports of late have been utterly spellbinding, the images  often      graphic and always heart-wrenching. I have tried  to  wrap my  mind around  the  evil gaining ground in the form of  the  “religious”  movement  called ISIS.   I cannot. 

   I will never understand how anyone can hate and harm and claim it is holy.    Some point to ISIS to justify their disdain of all religion, arguing that more harm has been done in the name of God than for any other reason. I maintain, however, that religion does not cause evil; it just gives evil a place to hide.

Jesus experienced the misuse of God’s name. He was put to death because he dared to live and preach the redeeming message of love, tolerance, and forgiveness.

The temptation for me is to ignore the discontent and anxiety that provide fertile ground for hate groups to gain followers and make converts.  I want to bury my head in the sand, thinking it applies only to “them, over there.” But evil will always have opportunities to prevail when love has not been shared.

Make no mistake; to love in the name of God is a dangerous proposition. Jesus is proof.  Yet, the only antidote to the darkness of evil is the light of God’s love—every day, everywhere, in everyone.

Our devotion to Jesus Christ, and our willingness to love as He loved is an obstacle to the progression of evil. It is not our belief in Him, but our love for Him and our willingness to love as He loves that will transform the world.

 The cost of discipleship can be high. Evil in the hearts of men and women will not be dispelled without a fight. But our calling is greater than our earthly lives. The victory of Jesus over Sin and Death gives us the courage, strength, and hope to be the agents for change this dark world desperately needs.

 See you in church~

 Pastor Juliet