I applaud and defend peaceful protests. And many times, as in the case of George Floyd’s death, they are justified. Speaking up out of desperation is certainly understandable. And peaceful protests to right a wrong or shine a light on an injustice have long been a part of our country’s history. Mr. Floyd himself was a man of peace, a man of faith. I’m sure a lot of the people protesting without violence are, as well.

But…

As I watch the riots, the fires, the looting, I see many in the world who are so lost. These instigators of violence seem to be a people with evil intent. We are learning that many of these are not the people who live in the neighborhoods that are being destroyed. These agents of chaos and destruction are not seeking to address the tragic existence of racism that we have to acknowledge still remains in our country. Certainly it’s not everyone, but one person hating and hurting someone else out of prejudice and ignorance is one too many. The peaceful protesters want real change, and I agree with that. As I lament the unwarranted deaths of people who did not deserve to die at the hands of people who should be protecting and serving citizens in those communities, I also see a world with too many wandering in darkness. And it shouldn’t be this way.

The Light came into the world. He died, though He did not deserve to die certainly, for all of us. Only that Light could do such an incredible thing. But too many people don’t know about the Light, let alone have a relationship with Him. Help us, Jesus. So many of us are without hope. They need to know You. They need to know how much You love them and to know that following You, can change their lives forever. When you receive an Eternal Love, you will never be the same. When you know you are forgiven for all you’ve ever done to hurt others and yourself, you will be in awe of such Mercy.

So, this is something I’ve been thinking about lately, praying about, too. If you want to join me in that prayer, I’d be honored and grateful. The questions in this reflection are the things I continue to pray about…

People can’t love like Jesus when they don’t know Him. Relationship with Him is what’s needed. We can lament the lack of Christian love in our culture, but I think we need to do more authentic evangelization to help make more Christians. I believe that is the most authentic and lasting way that love spreads and hatred is extinguished. I’m trying to work out for myself how to do that. I am tired of merely encouraging others like me and calling that evangelization. What can I DO? What can WE do? How do we show that love of Jesus to others? What’s that look like? I’m struggling but praying. So I’m hopeful.

I know we can’t just wring our hands,  or even just fold our hands in prayer. It’s not enough. Jesus demands more of us. We need to pray for peace, but how do we show we’re peaceful because of Jesus? I know we can’t offer the peace that passes all understanding; only God can give that. But we have to pray that the love of Jesus will impact others and break their hearts to love like He does. But how do we show that we love that way? Unconditionally, without judgement. What do we do differently to change others’ minds and hearts? What do I do to make a difference in a life so even one person wants to know who Jesus is? Honestly asking. Honestly struggling with this. —

On this Solemnity of Pentecost, the awesome day when the Holy Spirit descends on all the apostles, including Mary the mother of Jesus, in the upper room, let us pray for Divine inspiration, energy, creativity, and productivity. Let us be fruitful as the Holy Spirit alone can make us to bring about authentic, meaningful change in our culture, in the world. And to show everyone what Christ’s love looks like – it’s a way of peace and joy and goodness.

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