Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Remembering Pearl Harbor; Remembering the "date which will live in infamy"–a Theological Reflection

Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 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? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

December 7th, 2016 will mark 75th anniversary of Attack on Pearl Harbor. While our nation was born on July 4, 1776, I think that December 7th, 1941, was a pivotal day to our identity as a nation.

As a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered into the Second World War. Entering that war completely transformed our country. By the end of the Second World War, the United States of America emerged not only as a military but also as an industrial super-power. I am talking about urbanization, industrialization and culture shifts that followed events of the Second World War that started with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the “Date which will live in infamy.”

After the end of the Second World War, in the 1950s and early 1960s, all churches were full because the nation just lived through the Great Depression and a world war. Our world came to the brink of destruction and our parents and grandparents saw a real possibility of our collective demise. Resulting Cold War only strengthened these sentiments (think of the Cuban Missile Crisis).

Church communities were places where hope was found, where grief, anxiety, struggle, pain and fear could be handed over to something bigger than ourselves. Churches were the places that asserted that there was something more powerful than huge armies goose-stepping over international borders, than governments who declared wars and then sent millions of men (husbands and sons) to war. Churches were the places that asserted that there was something more powerful than the threat of oppression and extinction.

Today, almost sixty years later since 1950s and 1960s, our churches are empty. Lessons of the Pearl Harbor are largely forgotten (I am sorry to say). Last week I talked to two young people, students in a local high school, who did not know who fought in the Second World War and who won the war.

I think that the 75th anniversary of the “Date which will live in Infamy” challenges us to go back to our Christian roots.

  • Our church community must become safe space where people are welcome to come to with their doubts as they search for meaning in their lives.

  • We must become community that recognizes that every member is different and may have their opinions but as sisters and brothers united by the Blood of Jesus we have many more things in common than things and ideas that divide us, seed conflict and violence between us and our neighbors.

  • We must become communities that bring hope and encouragement to our members (“encourage one another and build each other up” Thes 5:11) and to our neighbors.

  • We must become communities that challenge our members against spending our resources mindlessly and wasting our time senselessly.

God always called us to be all these things. God always called us to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world.

I invite every member of the community of Kingswood United Methodist Church to take this opportunity, to keep December 7, 2016 Holy (to make it a Holy Day) by pausing for prayer,

  • for the lives that were lost on December 7, 1941,

  • for the changes, destruction, and reconstruction that happened since then,

  • for our community,

  • for our nation,

  • for the world that we live in today, and

  • for the future that is yet to come.

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” – said Jesus as recorded in Luke 13:2-3.

May God Bless our community and May God Bless our Country to be like a City on a Hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14)!

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