Will You Renounce?

Posted by Ruth Beresford on

Two weeks ago I posted a message on our congregation's Facebook page about the Ash Wednesday massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, asking for more than prayers for us who follow the Prince of Peace. Among all the touching images I had seen in digital and print media was of a woman, embracing a youth, with a visible cross of ashes traced on her forehead. Imagine coming from the worship where Christians acknowledge our mortality and the sinfulness that leads us toward death to stand outside your teenager's school, grieving the mortal lives ended because of someone else's sinful and destructive ways. In that traced cross, we also acknowledge that Christ Jesus died to save us from the power of sin and death. In this journey following Jesus, we reject the ways of evil and turn to receive the grace and power of God that gives life now and forever.

Last Sunday I met with our teens preparing for confirmation. As we sat together in the chapel, I talked about the three renunciations and three affirmations made first at baptism and then claimed again at confirmation. We un-name or renounce the evil that opposes God, the powers that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God before we affirm our choice to trust in the love of Jesus and to follow him as our Savior and Lord. I asked the youth where they saw evil today, and with one voice they said "school shootings."

Being Christian is about our deep devotion in our love for God and our daily choice to love our neighbors. Our faith is about coming to church so that we are strengthened to keep resisting the evil and keep following the Christ.

My husband David and I have been talking about how we want to respond to the evil that corrupts and destroys our God-given integrity, how we want to follow Jesus and live the covenant of love he described at the Last Supper. We want to support the youth of Parkland and their families, so we are going to Washington, DC on March 24 for the "March for our Lives." The petition on their website acknowledges support for the constitutional right to bear arms and the great need for Americans to do so responsibly. I'm not sure I will carry a sign that day before Holy Week begins. But maybe I will wear a cross of ashes on my forehead.

What will you do?


to leave comment