Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Praying for Peace, Not Death...

This is another departure from my usual devotion...sorry. I'll get back to those later this week. I simply feel like there is a Christian voice that has been missing from all of these discussions and I wanted to add my 2 cents...

In the May 5 edition of the Benton County Daily Record an article titled "Religious Leaders Weigh in On Bin Laden's Death" got me all fired up.   In the article 5 religious leaders from NW Arkansas were quoted. The Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist leaders all renounced the celebration of his death, calling instead for continued prayer and reconciliation.  The 2 Christian leaders they quoted left me absolutely speechless (well for about 2 minutes) and then infuriated.

One evangelical pastor said that bin Laden's death came as a result of answered prayers for justice, that God chose bin Laden's death. He went on to say "God chooses how he answers prayers...when justice is served, as I think it was in this situation, we do give thanks for the answer to prayers." Another Baptist pastor said (and I quote) "My initial reaction was 'Thank you, Lord,' because we needed something, considering the bad economy and the controversy over the current president's birth certificate, war, heavy rain and all the other things.  We also celebrate the death of wickedness as an answer to our prayers."

So I was upset...upset enough to do something I have never done before...write a letter to the editor. It was finally published here it is...


I am writing in response to the article titled “Religious Leaders Weigh In on Bin Laden’s Death” in the May 5 edition of the Daily Record. The article, as I read it, seemed to be lacking the grace-filled Christian voice of peace that I hear from my friends and colleagues.
I join my Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim brothers in calling the actions of the past week a call to justice,  peace and healing & reconciliation.  As a Christian I certainly do not see Bin Laden’s death as an answer to prayer. I, for one, never prayed for him to die. Scriptures call me to love and to pray for my enemies (Matthew 5:44) - while it is the hardest thing I do, I know that only God has the power to change people. Violence, hatred and war do nothing to change the hearts and minds of people - only God’s unconditional love and grace can do that.  My fervent prayers continue that God will accomplish this.
As a Christian leader in our community, it is my responsibility to draw people together.  To bring unity by declaring the Good News of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ for all people; not to draw lines of division and hatred. Celebrating the death of our enemy only strengthens the lines of division and increases the distance between us.
I am relieved that a source of evil has been defeated however, to think that the news of his death wipes out the fears of a faltering economy, overcomes the sadness surrounding the destruction of homes and lives by violent weather and will hush the voices who continue to question our leadership is absurd. Evil still exists, hatred and fear run rampant...and it will continue until we can learn to live together in peace, respect one another as God’s children and learn to pray for the unity of ALL.
My ultimate rejoicing comes in knowing that God has promised that, on that final day, love will overcome hatred, peace will overcome violence and God’s justice will finally unite all people of the earth. Until that day, I will continue to pray for our communities, our country, our world, and yes, even my enemies.
Rev Stacy Seger
Pastor, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Bentonville, AR

1 comment:

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

It's wonderful that you wrote this and that the paper published it.