Lewis Long: Many churches are still seeking peace

Editor, The Beacon:

Here are my thoughts after reading Buz Nesbit’s letter to the editor titled “Where are our churches and religious leaders?” While I applaud him for saying it, it still seemed ironic to me, since Pastor Leigh at our historic church down the block from us had indeed spoken about some of the subjects that Buz mentioned … probably that same Sunday. The lesson for the day was from Psalm 34 … particularly the part about “seek peace and pursue it,” which was also the annual theme selected by Air Force chaplains during the time I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, in Mississippi.

Buz also mentioned that according to a national poll, no one came to mind when people were asked if they could name a current hero; nevertheless, for me it would be Jimmy Carter.

In conjunction with the theme of the text, Pastor Leigh started off with the question “What is it we are called to do?” She mentioned a few basic things such as writing, calling and speaking about the things that matter to us and that sending handwritten letters to our leaders definitely carries a lot of weight and influence.

In the words of Rachel Hackenberg, “But finding answers wasn’t really the point. The point was to do the work of seeking them: to gaze honestly at trauma and evil, to look hard for hope, and to dig deep for love and life.” She also states that we’re also called to keep searching for one another.

As an outcome of what was spoken to and heard by our congregation, we started implementing some of those suggestions during the coffee hour after church. Along with some members making peace cranes to send to places where there was gun violence and mass murder, we focused on how to write meaningful letters to our elected officials. We pondered over such things as “Love does not burn with hate,” “Truth is not always comfortable,” “If you’re not us … you don’t exist,” while we continue to tolerate those kinds of things!

Nevertheless, it helps to know that God can love us in all things … in spite of everything. And to quote Vicki Kemper: “The road that got us here was paved by flawed people who trusted God’s promise of life abundant. By faith they had received a vision of another, better world, and so they kept going even when they could not see the way forward.”

Trustworthy God, we’ve come this far by faith … Don’t let us turn around now.

Lewis Long III

Lake Helen