Remembering and in Prayer....

There's so much going on in our world. Recent mudslides in Sierre Leone, the earthquake in southern Mexico, Harvey in Texas, Montana wildfires and Irma throughout the eastern Caribbean and Florida are just a few. Millions of people are affected; lives have been lost; and many people are living in chronic distress. 

Let us pray fervently, and seek ways to help those in need. 

Also, today we remember the horrendous tragedy of 9/11. Sixteen years later, I remember it like it was yesterday. So much has changed as a result of that fateful day. We are more cautious of national security. Also, many civilians are more paranoid then we have ever been. 

Who is a citizen? And, who is an imposter? are serious questions that echo through the streets of America, the halls of Congress and Senate as well as the walls of the White House's Oval Office.

We appreciate governmental officials' concern, their wisdom and their willingness to do all they can to keep us safe.  

As Christians, moreover, It's important that we don't allow ourselves to become so suspicious of others (whom ever the "other" may be") that we feed into alienation more than love of the neighbor. 

Wisdom and fear sometimes look alike from a distance. Yet, while there's wisdom in love, 1 John 4:18 teaches us that there's no fear in love

Fear destroys the possibility of unity and true peace. 

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure to participate in Norfolk's "CommUNITY Pray-and-sing Along," an event to commemorate 9/11. The event's mission was to promote a message of unity in response to the recent display of hate in Charlottesville and as a commemoration of 9/11. 

This is an edited transcript of my short closing words. I want to share them for your reflection and inspiration:

Since before the middle ages, religion has sponsored elitism, bigotry, xenophobia and racism. This does not negate the need for religion. It, rather, proves religion's power to impact the world. 

Construing the purpose of religion is evil’s effort to subvert what it means to live harmoniously in a world of diversity.  

The human kaleidoscope is God’s ideal creation. Red, yellow, black, and white, we are all precious in God’s sight. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor as God loves us. 

To be truly followers of Christ, we must fight aggressively to end hate with the responses of love and mercy.  

Each of us needs our precious Lord to take our hands, and lead us into God’s abundant life – into God’s amazing grace. 

As we honor the hero's and sheros of 9/11, may we remember that hate bigotry, and greed for power are absolutely destructive. They have no place in our society, or in this world!

Unity means that we must be willing to equalize power and seek peace through justice and love. 

As we reflect on the recent events of Charlottesville, may we be cognizant that the forces of evil linger to divide us. 

Let us rise in the power of God’s love to destroy division and choose unity in diversity.

Today we corral several Faith traditions to stand with a common hope of peace and unity.  

While religion has been tagged by a history of elitism and pain, still the power of authentic faith in Jesus Christ has given us great inspiration through sermons, poems, testimonies and songs that express human feelings, prophetic hope, justice, salvation, peace, love, and unity.

Let's renew a commitment to Faith that is full of love, peace, unity, and hope!

Amen 

May you have a wonderful week. May you be inspired to be all God has called for you to be and to do all that God has called for you to do. 

Grace and peace,

Dr. Antipas