I suppose that, after a Fashion, I might be considered a Faith Leader. Lacking a Community of which I stand in Leadership – excepting you, of course, dear Reader – I sometimes neglect the Fact. Nevertheless, I am a Teaching Elder of the American Church of Scotland, duly ordained by the Presbytery of Olympia on behalf of Christ’s Church. Thus it falls to me, unpulpited though I am, to speak in the Silence of the Unspeakable – to claim the digital Pulpit which is, I begin to suspect, my present Calling, and to use it in the Service of the One who ultimately called me.
Thus, today, I offer up an imperative Sermon to you, gentle Reader, to those persons of the Christian Faith to whom I am privileged to preach. This Sermon is taken from the simplest, clearest, and most pointed Texts that I can locate.
First, from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Fifth Chapter, starting at the Fourty-Third Verse*:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies: bless them that curse you: do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which hurt you, and persecute you,
45 That ye may be the children of your father that is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to arise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust.
46 For if ye love them, which love you, what reward shall you have? Do not the Publicans even the same?
47 And if ye be friendly to your brethren only, what singular thing do ye? do not even the Publicans likewise?
48 Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father which is in heaven, is perfect.
And then, my central Text, from the Hebrew Bible, the Book of the Exodus, the Twentieth Chapter, the Thirteenth Verse†. Listen for God’s Word to you.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
Let us pray.
God of heaven, add unto us Understanding of your Word and Will for us. Even as your Children mistake and trample your Word, guide us in the Way that you would have us go.
Do not kill People.
I am stunned, as ever, that I must specify this to you, gentle Reader. Whenever once again I am forced to address Murder on a massive Scale, I feel that my Kindred and I in the Clergy have, somehow, signally failed to impart even the most basic, simple Commandments. Thus, in the Wake of the Mass Shooting in Orlando, Florida, with fourty-nine Persons dead, a further fifty-three injured, in the Wake of this depraved Act of domestic Terror, in the Wake of this wanton Assault on the Lives of Revelers in a Space of Safety for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities, many of whom were persons of Latino or Latina descent, in the Wake of Murder most foul, once again, I fear that we, as a Priesthood, as a Community, as a Nation, as a Church, as a World, must reconsider, once more, this Commandment of the God of Israel, and its Implications for our Behaviour – to wit:
Do not kill People.
Do not kill People because you dislike how they are dressed.
Do not kill People because you dislike how they looked at you.
Do not kill People if you disagree with their public Behavior.
Do not kill People for Money, or Possessions, or Glory, or Honor.
Do not kill People because you do not like the Grade or Performance Review that they gave you.
Do not kill People because they break up with you, or will not yield to your romantic Ministrations.
Do not kill People because you regard them as impure.
Do not kill People because you believe them to be irreverent.
Do not kill People because you see them as unjust.
Do not kill People because you think them insufficiently compassionate.
Do not kill People because you feel that they are disloyal.
Do not kill People because they are gay. Or lesbian. Or bisexual. Or transgender. Or queer. Or intersex. Or asexual. For all of these identities and more, do not kill people.
Do not kill People because their Skin Color differs from your own.
Do not kill People to try and start a War.
Do not kill People because they do not worship your God.
Do not kill People because they do worship your God, but incorrectly, you feel.
Do not kill People because they hate you.
Do not kill People because you hate them.
Do not kill People because they have committed, or intend to commit, a Crime. Do not feel absolved from this – if it is in your Power to resist the Commission of a Crime, by all Means you should do so. But do, I beg, try not to kill People in the Process.
If it is possible to avoid doing so, do not kill People who are trying to kill you. Likewise, if avoidable, do not kill People who are trying to kill other People.
Do not purchase Weapons, place them in your Car, and drive somewhere for the express Purpose of killing People. If you do the first three things, neglect, please, the fourth, and do not kill the People.
Just, simply, and I know this might be rather difficult…do not kill People.
I know that this will, for some of you, present a burdensome Commandment. “Ah!” I hear you cry, “But what if I really must kill this Person, or this enormous Group of People, for the following excellent Reason!”
“No,” I shall reply. “Do not kill People.”I shall then point to the Passage in the Scriptures that commands you not to kill. Then I shall point at the Words of Jesus, the ways in which He lifts up not hating our Enemies, but blessing and praying for them. I shall note that we are to be different – better – than the ones who harass and persecute us. We are to be more good than our Foes.
This necessitates not killing them.
In short, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God, Daughters and Sons, Kindred of one another, in all your Ways and Walkings, in all the Turnings Life yields unto you, to the very best of your Ability…
…do not kill People.
The Word of the Lord.