In the midst of chaos and division during a Civil War in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero coined the term "the violence of love." That seems like a paradox, but his point was that love has the power to break down all barriers that divide. He once said: "I don’t want to be an anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God, who loves us and who wants to save us." I love that term--"a great affirmation." I wanted to write this brief blog today to affirm some things.
Like many of you, I watched the scenes of chaos and division on my TV screen last night. As I saw the images coming more and more, my heart started breaking over the city I call home. I love Charlotte and the greater Charlotte region. This truly is a wonderful place to live. I love the people. It is home. Yet, at this moment our city and region is hurting.
I cannot begin to truly flesh out the complexities of what is happening in a blog post. I could try, but I feel I would fall woefully short. And I do not wish to fall short out of respect for both the people of our wonderful city/region and those who serve to protect us on a daily basis. I am praying for everybody, and in the process hoping for unity and peace.
However, as I mentioned, I do wish to affirm some things. Actually, I wish to affirm one thing....and with that one thing comes all that the world needs. That affirmation is found the greatest name ever spoken: Jesus.
Jesus is my affirmation this morning. He is the greatest affirmation the world has ever seen. And with that comes so many other affirmations. Affirmations of love, peace, compassion, integrity, honesty, joy, healing, and so much more! With the word Jesus comes the violence of love that tears down our walls and divisions to bring unity and hope. With Jesus comes the answer in the midst of a time when answers seem hard to come by. This morning I lean on Jesus. I lean hard.
I love Assurance. I love our city. I love our people. I love all of those who serve and protect. I love the protestors. I love everybody. I pray this division is healed and the violence of love is what wins the day. I hope you will join me in that prayer.
Thank you all for letting me be your pastor. Our church is such a great witness of how we can all come together as we unite around the greatest name of all time....the greatest affirmation of all time....Jesus.