Faith Matters: The Pain is Real

Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

St. Paul writes, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (I Corinthians 12:26)

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.

A worshipping community close to us put a “black lives matter” sign on their front lawn a few years ago. The sign was vandalized. It was criticized as being anti-law enforcement. It was condemned as being political and many of our neighbors were vocal about how worshipping communities shouldn’t be political. Calloused and cold critics lamented that saying black lives matter implies somehow that other lives don’t matter.

I think some people just didn’t like that sign in front of that church because those three words served as a stark reminder that we don’t live in a fair, just, or loving country. We shouldn’t have to say things like black lives matter. It should be understood. It should be known. We want to believe there should be no reason to put that sign on a lawn.

But there is.

I participated in a Faith Leaders Rally along with other pastors in our congregation because we know that if one part suffers, all suffer with it. We marched with faith leaders of various traditions to the Erie County Holding Center.

The pain is real, and it is too much to bear. The requests and demands were sensible and achievable. The spirit of the event was cooperative and peaceful. Christ was present.

As followers of Christ Jesus we are called to help the hurting, bind up the broken, and provide hospitality to the outcast and despised. We are called to preach good news and we are encouraged to advocate for justice. Some people call this sort of work “political.” The scriptures call it ministry.

A Rabbi concluded the event downtown. He prayed for peace and justice. He noted that far too long we have settled for peace without justice. We have sacrificed justice for the sake of peace. In these tumultuous times let us remember that true peace is only possible with we have real justice.

And let us not forget-when one part suffers, all suffer with it.

When one part is honored, the body rejoices.

Pastor Scott Hannon

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