“Where is the church?” was the question asked a colleague of mine. Sunday, in our teaching on John’s Gospel, Chapter 8 (The Truth Will Set You Free!) we addressed our need to respond to dehumanization of sin wherever it is found – in ourselves, in sexual abuse, domestic violence, or human trafficking within our own state. I quoted Wendell Berry in the sermon, taken from an interview in the book Conversations With Wendell Berry (p. 144). Here is the actual quote:
If you think every life is sacred, then you have to behave differently toward all these people – fetuses, criminals, enemies – we’ve decided it’s alright to be violent toward….If young people see older people solving their problems by violence, what can you expect except that they will try to do it, too? If they see human life generally depreciated, then they’ll generally depreciate their own lives and the lives of other children. Promiscuity is self-depreciation and another form of violence and exploitation.
We ended our services with a prayer based on Psalm 103 and Micah 6:8
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all our iniquity,
who heals all our diseases,
who redeems our lives from the pit,
who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies us with good
so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He has shown His people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of us
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with our God.
Lord, deliver us from the slavery of sin;
Lord move us to be your instruments of
justice and mercy in the face of exploitation,
violence, and oppression wherever it is found.
In the name of Jesus, our Liberator. Amen