The Arm of Flesh Will Fail You

“It shouldn’t be an act of courage to enter a place of worship,” said a survivor of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting

But it is

Every day

In churches

Most recently in synagogue after synagogue

In mosques

In 2020

In America

All over America

We understand

Ever since June, 2015, Charleston, the Holy City, the City known for her houses of worship, has placed police officers at all churches, synagogues, mosques

Really

The first place in the Western world to allow almost anyone to vote and hold office, if they were white, and male, and professed a faith, any faith, not just the faith of the monarch

Dissenters

Jews

Heathens

All allowed

Home to the second oldest synagogue in the United States

John Locke wrote our initial constitutions

The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina

1669

Praising our religious freedom, Voltaire himself said, “Cast your eyes over the other hemisphere, behold Carolina, of which wise Locke was the legislator.”

He had no idea that over three hundred and fifty years later that freedom of religion would be curtailed

As I ushered in church, at a parish organized in 1680, I spoke to the police officer assigned to us

That’s right

A police officer

Assigned to us

Weekly

A man came in with a backpack

She asked him to please return it to his car

He did

A tourist with a fanny pack, oh law, also came into the church

She asked him to please return it to his car

Really

He said he was on foot and let her search it

That same man wrote a note and placed it in the collection plate on the visitors’ card

Counting the money after church, I saw the note

“Thank you for including me. Lovely service. Please pray for ________”

I wish I could have written him back

“Dear Sir, I am sorry that your fanny pack had to be searched, but we live in a sinful and broken world.”

This is America

This is worship in America

We really are soldiers

Worship as an act of war

Ye soldiers of the Cross

But I can’t help but think that Jesus would have wept

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Put on the Gospel armor. Literally.

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