In two days we will gather in Des Moines for our Conference Annual Meeting. I celebrate the love and common faith that binds us together as children of God. Menno Simons referred to the Church as the “children of light.” Last weekend, in the killing of 49 people and wounding of many more, darkness has once again imposed its illusory power. We do not need to understand all the intricacies of the geopolitical forces at work in our world to know that what happened in Orlando was evil. Our presence in the world as God’s people is itself a defiant witness in the face of evil:
We announce that the light of Christ is shining in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.
We proclaim that every human being is known and loved by God from the moment of their formation. Every human being is a child of God. Every life is priceless in the eyes of God. It is always wrong for one human creature to take the life of another.
We recognize that every act of hatred diminishes us all. At the root of all hatred is fear and alienation. We affirm that everything necessary to remove the walls of separation has been accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We are overcome with grief and pour out our compassion for those who have lost loved ones in this massacre. We express our love to the victims’ families and pray that God’s healing and hope will flow through God’s people to all who mourn.
We will seek to be agents of hope in the face of paralyzing fear. We will act with love toward everyone within our reach. We pray for the deep healing that can come by God’s mercy. We pray that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, all hearts of stone will be turned to hearts of flesh.
May we live in hope for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Executive Conference Minister
Central Plains Mennonite Conference