In the lectionary gospel assigned for this Sunday, Jesus once again reminds us of the two greatest commandments, to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He places particular emphasis in Luke 10 on “loving your neighbor as yourself,” by giving, in the familiar story of “The Good Samaritan”, an example of what loving and serving your neighbor looks like.
I long for this commandment of Jesus to be followed and resonate in our American society; but that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Like many weeks, this has been a terrible week of violence in America. This week stands out because with social media, in a 72 hour span, we have been bombarded with images of violent deaths of African American men in Baton Rouge, LA and Falcon Heights, MN by police officers; only to be followed by images of the horrific sniper attack on police officers in Dallas, Texas.
Over and over the media ask “experts” what can we do about this violence that is so prevalent in our society. Well, how about starting with what Jesus said is the 2nd greatest commandment; “Love your neighbor as yourself!” If we did, we would find out that Dr. King was right: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Or as Jesus says, “loving our neighbors as ourselves” can do that.
At Covenant, our thoughts, condolences and prayers go out to the Sterling and Castile families and loved ones; as well as the families of the brave Police Officers of the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority that died or were injured. I pray that we will begin to get it: violence is NOT the answer! The answer is learning to “love your neighbor as yourself!”