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June 28, 2016

Vigils and the Bully Pulpit

Harry M. Covert

The time has come for a real vigil. Using this bully pulpit, something must be done to halt the slide to “Hell in a Handbasket” as a humorist of yore penned more than a century ago.


Were I extolling on a pastoral platform at this very moment, I would most certainly disclaim use of the caustic word for the netherworld. Preachers should avoid using such adjectives while representing The Almighty on divine premises. No slips.


Of late lots of well-meaning people have been conducting vigils, carrying lit candles, holding hands and moaning and mooning over the awful murders, not just in Florida but throughout the country, in Baltimore, Chicago, Texas and other states. Thankfully none in Frederick County.


These deaths and injuries are quite awful, terrifying and petrifying for the continuation of society as we know it.


At the risk of appearing cynical or uncaring, which I am not, everybody is missing the cause for the terror, murder and mayhem which seems to be the most popular thing of the present. This is not a joke. All of us are at risk. It’s easy to say if victims had side arms at the ready the results would be different. Not so. I’m a true believer in the right to pack and carry concealed weapons.


It was nice to see Frederick citizens congregate for a vigil. Missing from the conversations and speeches and wishing, no talk was made about changing the hearts of the people.


My question here in a land of lots of churches of all persuasions, where are the pastors and Sunday school teachers teaching the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and Biblical teachings? The time has come for a new Christian Renaissance. The constant barrage to remove public expressions of Christian convictions is the culprit leading to the ruination of a society.


Yes, the state, the county and the nation recognize freedom of religion. But, the current crop of crusaders forgets that the nation was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics. This won’t be popular probably, but the founding principles did not include Islam, Buddha, Hari Krishna, Baha’ or worshippers who use Peyote or medicinal marijuana. The founders wanted tolerance.


It doesn’t take genius to see the many social disruptions destroying individual and family lifestyles. Matters of drug use are no joke. Cocaine is rampant. How often entertainment shows present sniffing the white stuff which really shows young people how to try it. A wag I know once suggested a weekend “sniff-off” so users could load up and spare the community of much criminal activity. It wasn’t funny and didn’t get anywhere.


How many church people are criticized as “Bible Bangers?” Cute. But those using the words are usually bottom feeders, lost in evil activities, problems in themselves and family members. Frankly they are generally ne’er-do-wells. Check out the jails.


To put all this in perspective, evangelical churches now must take the lead in reforming lifestyles, people and teaching right and wrong. It isn’t difficult. Yes, lots of so-called meeting houses are busy ignoring the Gospel message, no longer paying attention to sin. Heavenly days! I used that word. Well, murder is s-i-n, reprobate lifestyles are s-i-n. Those who say they are called to ministry must remind themselves, “woe…unto me if I preach not the Gospel.”


It is indeed sad when innocents are murdered willy-nilly by a knucklehead, terrorist or deranged person of any persuasion. The issue isn’t a hand gun, or AR-15, or shiv, or switchblade, or Molotov cocktail. Bad people must not be able to buy them. While all the handwringing gains steam, a silly congressional sit-in won’t change a thing. They can try for a little publicity, but most people think they’re out of it and they are.


Pastors have a huge responsibility. As far as I have recounted no evangelicals in Frederick were holding candles, beating their breasts and ignoring the elements of terrorism, murder and religious turmoil. I trust they were preparing for a real vigil, making some elocutions for fire-breathing sermons. Right now, we’re having “h-e-l-l” on earth.


There must be a modern-day Billy Sunday, the former Chicago White Stockings baseball player and evangelist; a neo-Billy Graham; a preacher like E. M. Bounds; or pulpeteer resembling Dwight Moody; or John Wesley. There are others, too.


All right, everybody who wants to go to Heaven raise your hand.




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