June 3, 2016

Read Philippians 1:1-6, Ephesians 6:10-17

Harambe, a 17 year old Lowland Gorilla, was shot to death at the Cincinnati Zoo. There are few of his kind left, and his loss is a dear price to pay. Yet, we are thankful a precocious four year old did not have to pay for his mistakes with his life. As the story has unfolded, it seems this child scrambled through the barrier with well-intentioned bystanders futilely grasping at this clothing. Harambe at first seemed protective toward the preschooler, but became increasingly agitated and aggressive toward him as panic of the onlookers grew. Frankly, I was amazed the zoo had a sharpshooter at the ready capable of putting down this magnificent creature with a single shot, as a child was in its clutches. He was obviously one who had trained for such a time as this, never anticipating exactly what this may be.  Our collective instinct is always to blame someone. However, things happen. Sometimes bad things. Can we possibly avoid them all? Can we possibly anticipate what they may be?

I never anticipated needing to make a reasoned argument concerning why I believe men and women should use separate public bathrooms. I never anticipated explaining why marriage is one man and one woman. I never anticipated having to thwart the arguments of millions of influential voices endorsing homosexuality.

As we memorialized those in our church family who have seen the face of Christ in this past year, I could not help but imagine their experience. I anticipate hearing “well done,” yet I wonder. Will I? I know my intentions are good, but will I have effectively accomplished the task set before me, or will I be futilely grasping as those around me fall into peril? Will I be a panicked and impotent bystander increasing the agitation of an untamed beast, as the helpless are harmed?

As we remember all who have gone before us and their achievements both in our church and our nation, we are confident that Christ is continually perfecting what He has begun. We cannot anticipate exactly what may come our way; yet, we are expected to train for it and to be prepared.  When the time comes to pick up our sword because the unarmed and helpless are being devoured, we must be skilled swordsmen. If we are not, we have only ourselves to blame, and we will all pay dearly.

One great way to weave worship into our daily lives is to fill it with music that helps focus our hearts on our great God.  Here is a Spotify playlist that has all the songs our worship team has led us through in the last month’s Sunday evening services to get you started. http://bit.ly/GBCPMThisMonth It’s updated weekly, so “follow” it to keep fresh worship music in your life.