Moving away from the Gospels to the passage I preached on this morning in worship. I was preaching on Hebrews 9:1-15 as part of our series in worship on this letter. As has happened several times before, I had a sermon all prepped for the morning only to have events have the Spirit push me to something new. (Here’s the link to the mp3 of the sermon if you want to listen). The events were the shootings in El Paso and Dayton during the last 24 hours combined with the shooting in Gilroy last Saturday and the 20+ homicides that have happened in Cincinnati this year (only two weren’t gun violence). In the passage, there is a line (verse 12) where it speaks of Jesus as the great high priest entering into the holiest spot in the temple to make the final sacrifice – “once for all.” This was the core passage for me and especially so with the people who have died at the barrel of a gun. Jesus’ blood was the last blood to be shed yet we keep on shedding more and more.
This morning, I was talking through my original sermon on an early walk with Scout when I saw these handprints on the sidewalk. Some child made them in addition to a bunch of other beautiful and fun drawings on the sidewalk. But some young girl or boy took some slightly damp chalk, rubbed in all over small hands, and then made these beautiful hand prints for all to see. It was there that I knew the message had to be different. What immediately came to my heart was “what kind of world are we giving to our children?” For to us to continue to live as we have been is not why Jesus died, not why (to use the passage from Hebrews) that Jesus metaphorically entered the temple and made the final sacrifice once for all.
I want a different world for that child who put beautiful hand prints on the sidewalk. I want a different world for my own children who have done the same. I want a different world for children I have met and children I’ve never met. I want a different world for children of all colors. I want a different world than what we have right now.
But it takes our hands to make a better world for all. In worship this morning I shared of a march and a human chain that is going to take place on the 8th St viaduct in Cincinnati on the afternoon of August 11. It isn’t something that changes the world instantly but it is a statement to others especially if we could get thousands out there. I also shared about what we can do with our elected leaders. Dream with me here…What if, what if…before getting into anything of new laws, regulations, etc…what if our elected leaders – senators, representatives, president, vice president, republicans, independents, democrats, long time and newly elected, liberals, moderates, conservatives…what if…what if all of them could do like what we saw after 9-11 when they all stood on the front steps of the capitol as a sign of national unity? What if they could all even just START with saying with one voice – “these actions are not who we are as a country?” What if there was a unified statement from them all that went out in as many ways as possible – in televised and print media, on social media, in email and text campaigns, in mailed materials. What if? Maybe I’m just dreaming but what if? What if that could be a starting place for our leaders about the better world that we all want for all people?
I for one am going to write handwritten notes to my senators and representative and to the president and vice president asking them to do this. I’ll share the letter that I am going to write in the next post if you want to write something similar. I am writing and mailing the letter tomorrow.
A better world – that’s what I want. A better world that we may think is impossible but as my reading in Mark 10 this morning said, “all things are possible with God.”