NEOSHO, Mo. —
Many of you have already heard about the killing of Dr. William L. Corporon and his grandson in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13.
This particular killing hits close to home, as Dr. Corporon was the son of Lewis L. Corporon, who served the First Christian Church of Ponca City, Okla., with me from 1964 to 1969.
Lewis was on staff as associate minister when I was called to the congregation as senior minister in 1964. Lewis was a really valuable complement to the ministerial staff of the church.
On Sunday, a man from Aurora is reported to have yelled “Heil Hitler” as he was being driven away in a police car following the shooting of Dr. Corporon and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, a high school freshman.
The same man is accused of killing another person at a senior living community, Village Shalom, soon after Corporon and his grandson were shot.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, has been identified as a white supremacist and has a long history of white supremacist activities in Missouri.
“The Growing Edge,” by Howard Thurman, has been an exceptional reference and resource in my library.
His first section of the book is titled “Concerning Enemies” and contains four writings under this heading.
He quotes an unfamiliar and unusual passage from Psalms 139:21-22: “Do I not hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am I not grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
He goes on: “Hatred has its own morality, its own private life, its own source of nurture, its own evolution. Sometimes it begins as a quiet shimmer of resentment, just a quiver that moves through the spirit as one faces something that does violence to his inner sensibility. But this resentment grows. It begins to establish its root system and its trunk system until it takes the form of hostility ... Hostility does not exist in a vacuum; hostility cannot just be hostility in general. It has to be focused on something.”
I would add somone.
Later, he writes: “There is a most important similarity between hate and love. Both are positive; but hatred is positive and destructive, while love is positive and creative.”
We are, during this week, witnesses to the power of hate and especially the power of hate to destroy.
Most fortunately, we are also witnesses to the power of love to overcome such hate and destruction.
Easter is the sign and symbol that tells us about the ultimate power of love.
Bill Masters is a retired minister of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He served the First Christian Church of Neosho from 1985 to 1990, before his retirement. He served the First Christian Church of Ponca City, Okla., from 1964-1984, before coming to Neosho.