The Pastor’s Pen: November 11, 2018

Today we salute the veterans of Shiloh and veterans around the world. Countless members of the Armed Forces have put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. For those of African American descent, it was exceptionally difficult to risk life and limb and then never enjoy the full rights of American citizenship. On this Veterans Day we thank God for all of them, and for the sacrifices they made for our people and for our nation.

At the recently held District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) 142nd Annual Gathering of Churches, Shiloh was recognized for its work in social justice. We are grateful to Executive Director, Dr. Robert Cochran, and the entire DCBC body for this humbling honor. May God bless and keep them.

At the Healing Communities 10th Anniversary Celebration on October 25th, Floyd Price, who leads Shiloh’s Prison Ministry, received the Excellence of Service Award for his leadership of Shiloh’s letterwriting campaign and visits to incarcerated persons.  Floyd shared that Shiloh’s successful letter-writing and visiting with incarcerated persons from DC to Texas is a result of efforts made by several Shiloh members, including Mattie Robinson, Deacons Sonja Ray and Linda Winfrey, Nadirah Moreland and the late Pearl Bailey. On behalf of your Shiloh family, thank you for your selfless commitment to this social justice ministry.  Well done!

By now, we have all received the results of Tuesday’s mid-year election results and have learned that Democrats have retaken the majority in the House of Representatives. This is a major accomplishment and an indication that civility has triumphed over the politics of division and hate. We have spent too much time demonizing people because they possess a different outlook on life than we might hold. The Bible is replete with the encouragement to welcome strangers with gladness. It is only when we get beyond our vested interests that we can find God’s way forward for us. In politics, as in all life, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).

On Thursday, we received the news that another mass shooting had occurred in our nation. Twelve people were killed and others injured. This was the worst mass shooting since the Parkland School shooting in Florida. At this juncture, we do not know the gunman’s motive. We do know that David Long was a 28-year-old former Marine, whose angry erratic behavior had led to a call for authorities to come to his home in April. Unfortunately, a mental health crisis team assessed that he did not need to be taken into custody, but now this tragic shooting has occurred.

For the last several weeks, we have noted in this column that hate speech is never permissible, as it often leads to violence. No matter Mr. Long’s motives, we must never forget that God’s Word is clear; the only hate God ever displays is the hatred of evil.