June 15, 2016, 11:25 AM Musings on the Massacre in Orlando Musings on the Massacre in Orlando “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”-Jesus Christ Unfortunately, truth in the era in which we are living is hard to find. Many voices we are hearing in the vortex of this vicious storm are varied. “…we have no definitive motive.”…. “we have to implement more gun control….”...“… the shooter was bi-polar and unstable…”… “…another Islamic terrorist, shouting Allah Akbar….” …homophoic.”….. Then, of course, there were the hate mongers: “Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the ACLU…came to a mind-blowing conclusion regarding the real perpetrator of the shooting …[it is because]..the Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months…” (internet webpage: www.mrctv.ort/blog) This is a real stretch, but then these are the same people that insist there is a Constitutional right to harvest and sell baby body parts. Equally disturbing was the YOUTUBE video that came out this morning by a “pastor” in Orlando: “..the victims of the LGBT community deserved what they got.” The video was removed by YOUTUBE. What is the correct response to this tragedy? Can we frame this discussion around the life and words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Using an old Christian catch-phrase: “WWJD…What would Jesus do?” Concerning sin: “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate hadmixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, No! But unless you repent, you will all likewise parish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” What was Jesus saying? Was he lacking compassion when he offered no condolences for the families of those affected? Was he overlooking the possible connection beween wicked behavior and life consequences Jesus, being perfect and having complete understanding of not only the circumstances but the motives of the ones asking the questions cut right to the heart of the issues. First, He addressed the most glaring problem with this Q and A. The people that were asking him about the deaths of these individuals were trying to get Him to condemn the deceased as especially wicked sinners that “deserved” such a violent death. Jesus did not. Secondly, the Lord dealt with their own vulnerability and ours as well: “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” In another traumatic situation, when the woman caught in the very act of adultery was brought to Jesus for judgment, he graciously defended her from her accusers in this way: “Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.... 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. On every level the Lord displays the light of the gospel truth. Mercy triumphs over judgment. He does not overlook the transgression, but he extends forgiveness and gives a directive to correct the life style pattern: “go and sin no more.” First things first. There are many churches in the Orlando area that are demonstrating “the first thing first” principal. Ministers have opened their sanctuaries for prayer, counseling and consolation. People’s lives are devastated and hearts are crushed. Jesus plainly reveals that one of his missions as described in Luke 4:18 is to “bind up the broken hearted.” Chick-fil-A, a Christian owned company, quickly opened their kitchens to provide free food to the EMT’s, police and the hundreds of ordinary citizens that are standing in line for hours to donate their blood at the blood banks. (Even when this restaurant chain has been the brunt of harassment by the LGBT community for taking a stand that marriage is between one man and one woman.) Mercy triumphs over judgment. We could all sermonize on how these young people could still be with us today. And there is a time for sermonizing. And there is a time to lift the banner of righteousness and proclaim truth on every level. Sometimes eyes and ears are opened to truth by the sight and sound of mercy triumphing over judgment. On a personal note. If I were a resident of Orlando, as is my sister, I could very well be one of those heart-wrenched parents weeping for their children. My first born daughter has identified herself as “gay.” If she had been at the Pulse Night Club in the early morning hours of June 12th, I and my family could possibly be numbly walking through the nightmarish ordeal of planning a funeral. I know the arguments: “If they were not at the nightclub…if they were straight and not gay…if they knew right from wrong…if they were not such great sinners…if they had been taught right….if…if…if…” Jesus said, “…Has no one condemned you? No one, sir,” she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go and leave your life of sin."….And to those that questioned Him concerning those whose blood Plate mingled with their sacrifices, Jesus responded: “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” (John 8:11 and Luke 13:5) Amen.