Responding to Violence-A Pastoral Message

Dear Friends,

We have grown so accustomed to violence in these times. Our hearts ache for the victims of violence at Virginia Tech this week and daily in Iraq. On Saturday, before the dreadful news of this week, I received the following letter from one of our Lay Leaders, Janet Arbucci. I share it with you now. Posted below is also my message from last Sunday, in which my own thoughts were very much focused on Jesus’ ministry and message of peace in the face of violence.

Shalom,
Rev. Scott Summerville


Dear Friends,

I watch the news each night and learn how many people have been killed that day. I hear the sad news of young men and women killed in Iraq. Sometimes I see native Iraqis – men, women and children – all murdered by misguided terrorists who think they are acting for God. Often the killings are closer to home: students gunned down by their peers, an FBI agent killed by “friendly fire,” young men murdered in our cities, the police who try to save them, babies whose lives are ended by neglect or worse, women killed in marital disputes, and, the occasional sensation – a dismembered body swept ashore in Mamaroneck Harbor.

Death. Killing. Every day. Every night. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m frustrated. Sometimes I just feel numb. Sometimes I say a short prayer, “God bless us,” or “Help us to stop killing ourselves. Pleaseā€¦.”

I do believe in the power of prayer, although I don’t always understand it. In my moments of anger, I think I should be “out there” trying to stop the killing in an activist manner. (How? I don’t know. But, DOING something.) But, I know that right now, in my current circumstances, this is not realistic. But, I can pray. Every day without fail. And I can encourage others to pray with me.

I am making a personal commitment to pray for peace twice each day – once in the morning upon arising and again at night as I retire. I will pray for peace. I will pray that we will stop killing each other – in our neighborhoods and around the globe. And, I will pray to be an instrument of peace throughout the day.

Please join me.

Janet Meyer Arbucci
Lay Leader, Asbury UMC

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