All of us, I am sure, are upset by what we have seen take place in Manchester and now, again, in London. It was also extremely disturbing to watch actual film clips of the efforts to take Mosul, with street fighting and door-to-door combat. There is no question that we live in violent times with enormous anger blowing even within our own country, where, for example, peaceful protests in Portland, OR, recently turned violent. There is just so much anger in the world right now.
The answer does not lie in more violence. You may liberate Mosul, but – as I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon – evil is like the Greek hydra: you cut off one head, another one grows back. The only way to truly make a difference is by doing what America has always done: lead by example and reach out to help hopeless places in the world. When we did not turn our back on Europe after World War II but instead initiated the Marshall Plan, a difference was made that we can even appreciate today. Every time we build a well in Africa, attempt to vaccinate a continent against smallpox or polio, help lead the fight against malaria and AIDS, a difference is made. The problems the world faces are illiteracy, starvation, and abject poverty. Bombs and bullets will never solve these problems.
In the end we must be vigilant, using the resources of our faith, to help us stand firm against acts of hatred and hate crimes, such as murder and terrorism. I applaud those musicians who returned to Manchester to throw a concert. As I watched the concert, I was moved by this small attempt to resist those who are trying to destroy our way of life. We are far from a perfect society and are filled with many flaws and problems, but may we never lose heart and “grow weary of doing good”. We all must stand with London and its mayor.