By Reverend Vona Wilson, YMCA Chaplain
Yesterday, I took a beautiful fall drive out to preach at a little country church in Algood, Tennessee. We sang hymns, we prayed, and we heard reports of feeding the hungry and collecting clothes for children in need. We shared communion. We celebrated All Saints Day. Then, on the way home, I turned on the radio to hear reports of death in a small rural church in Texas. My heart is heavy still.
It is easier to sit on our couches and condemn the evil displayed on the TV screen than it is to mend relationships with our own neighbors or families. It is faster to Tweet what “should” be done about mass shootings, or post explanations of motive that make us satisfied that this would never happen if “they” would do something. It is hard to accept the suffering that is everywhere in our world. Whether it’s violence, cancer, mental illness, addiction…we humans are quite a mess! But we are also so much more.
Jesus actually walked into suffering and offered something different. What Christ gives us to do and be in the presence of darkness does not ignore suffering or evil. There is a way of peace, a way of justice, a way of wisdom—and it is not what we might think. It is this: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Paul wrote this to the church in Rome). Jesus said something equally radical: “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27-28).
Today each of us in a position to offer “good.” We hold that power as the children of God. Our Father does not distinguish between those of high or low “position,” nor those of many degrees or zero degrees. We are made in the image of God and are equipped to shine light in the dark places, including the dark places inside our own souls.
Overcome evil with good today in the moments, places, and influences where you stand. Never underestimate the impact of your presence on earth. You are loved by God, as is every person you encounter today. Let’s spread that love. It is our most important task.
God, we cry today for the pain and sorrow covering the people of Texas. We pray that they will have the peace that comes from your heart...the peace that is beyond our human understanding. Fill us up with the light that overcomes the darkness in us and around us. Give us courage to simply follow your different path today. We love you. We trust you. We are not afraid. We are grateful that you have overcome the evil among us. Amen.
Learn more about the Y's Spirit and Mind Ministries
Growing in spirit, mind and body is the surest path to holistic well-being. The Y offers Spirit and Mind workshops, seminars and small group classes, including a group for those who are navigating the waters of grief. Let us help support your growth in physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health.