I understand from news reports that the residents of Aurora, Colorado are gathering this evening for a prayer vigil to remember and celebrate the lives that were lost the other evening as well as those wounded whose lives will forever be changed in the senseless attack at the movie theater. There has been such an outpouring of sympathy and support from every aspect of the population over these past days, and I am sure that it will continue in the future. This tragedy has united people, brought out the best in people, showed their strength and determination not to be overwhelmed by the evil that touched their lives and their community. While I am saddened by those tragic losses and pain inflicted, I am also inspired by the response of the community. May we continue to pray for all those involved.
Later this week, athletes and spectators from around the globe will gather in London for the beginning of the Summer Olympics. It is a worldwide competition that brings allies and enemies alike to a forum where abilities and achievements are championed. While there is always the threat of dark forces causing trouble, there is a spirit of peaceful competition and a united spirit of friendship that is remarkable to behold. There is so much strength and goodness that flows from the unity of purpose and goal of the games. I love watching the Olympics, especially the Summer ones, and I look forward to spending time before the TV.
Yesterday I witnessed a wedding ceremony at our church that brought two distinct families and many friends together to share in the pledge of love given by Joe and Tiffany. That unity of purpose and that pledge of love and support of family and friends will give this couple a strong foundation upon which to build. People who did not know each other before found a common purpose in the love and support that they offered this new couple.
If we can find strength in our sorrow and pain from each other in our human condition ... if we can celebrate our strengths as a universal community in sporting events ... if families can find unity in their common love of their children and their new spouse, how much more will this be true when we bring Christ into the picture. Our Scriptures today remind us of the centrality of Christ. He blesses each individual but brings them together in his Name and Spirit, thus giving them strength and grace. He is the reason for our unity ... he is the source of our unity ... he is the power in our unity.
I am reminded of the old saying "divide and conquer". The evil one knows the truth of these words, which is why he sows discord and division. Another phrase, "a house divided cannot stand", reminds us that there is power in our oneness, strength in unity. And to be one in Christ, to be strong in the Lord, to walk together in his Name should not only be our desire, but the very motivation of our lives.