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Speaking to the Soul: Is There an Echo?

Speaking to the Soul: Is There an Echo?

Easter Week, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

 

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 136  (morning) // 118 (evening)

Daniel 12:1-4, 13

Acts 4:1-12

John 16:1-15

Today’s gospel reading appeared in the Daily Office lectionary less than one year ago today. I remember reflecting on one particular verse then: “an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.” In this year’s reflection, I don’t want to repeat myself.

Unfortunately, I don’t have to repeat myself. There are always fresh occurrences of religiously-motivated violence to connect to Jesus’s warning. During Holy Week, 147 Kenyans were murdered by religious extremists. Yesterday, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all counts related to the Boston marathon bombing.

I know that socioeconomic as well as ideological factors contribute to religious extremism. I also know that all religions have their violent extremists. Thus, the mentality that Jesus warns us about is pervasive, and extremely complicated to uproot.

So how can we oppose this global evil, the belief that the death of anyone gives worship and glory to God? Jesus explains that people kill others as an act of worship because “they have not known the Father or me.” What we can do is know God in Christ, deeply and intimately, and make this God known. Then perhaps at least one less act of religious violence will fulfill Jesus’s warning, even as his word echoes through the ages and resonates with the crimes of faith around us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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