November 2017 Notes from the Presbytery of Nevada Presbytery Pastor, Rev. Hilda Pecoraro

Thefollowing is an excerptfrom a sermon by the Rev. Adolph Kunen titled, “No End in Sight”.
The sermon in response to the
1 October Mass Shooting in Las Vegas was delivered on October
15, 2017 at Valley Presbyterian Chur
ch, Mesquite. Thanks to Adolphfor offering these words to
us all
.

. . . Have you ever given a thought to how utterly impossible it really is to defeat love? Stop it in
its tracks, End it? Yes, you can overlook it, snub it, turn your back on it, make fun of it; or get
ugly and crucify it – as did Steven Paddock the other Sunday night when he crossed out the lives
of at least 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. But he could not defeat the love that
moved Owen Searey to grab his mother’s hand and pull her to safety under a cat walk; he could
not defeat the love that led a 29 year old Marine veteran Taylor Watson to find a truck with keys
in it and pick up four or five victims, put them in the back and drive them to Desert Springs
Hospital Medical Center; and He could not stop the love that moved one man to throw his body
as protection across the bodies of two strangers who, in that moment, suddenly became friends.
“Greater love has no man than this,” Jesus said, “that he lay down his life for his friends.”

And what shall we say about the killer, Steven Paddock? Perhaps the answer to that question lies
in words spoken by our president to a shocked & grieving nation the day following the tragedy:

“Though we feel such anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens,” he said, “it is our
love that defines us today – and always will forever.” I believe our commander-in-Chiefhas
gotten the message: love never ends, never dies, never fails.

2

Clark County Sheriff Lombardo, the Las Vegas city council, the media – many of us, have
sought in vain to determine the motive, the reason, for why Paddock did what he did. Ifby
chance we did determine to our satisfaction the motive, the reason, would that move us to forgive
him?

When he hung on “the old rugged cross”, Jesus made no effort to determine the motive, the
reason, why his taunting, jeering torturers hung him up there to suffer and bleed away his loving
life. He simply whispered, “father forgive them for they know not what they do”. You cannot
defeat such love. It keeps coming back, no matter what you do to it. Loves keeps coming back
to forgive those who claim to be its friends yet betray it, and those who are obviously its
enemies. Love never fails, it always wins out in the end.

Ringing through every page of the New Testament, at the heart of the four Gospels, Paul’s letters
to the Churches, the writings of John, it is always the same theme – Love, the cross – and always
central! It’s central because it opens the door and lets you look into the very heart of God and
see there the love that never ends, never dies; the love which never fails: The love that is at the
heart of God laid perfectly bare and plain on a cross.

Greg Zany of Aurora Illinois, a retired carpenter, said the cross helped him cope with his father-
in-law’s murder, and that he wanted to provide that closure for the Las Vegas community after
the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. He drove to Las Vegas and installed 58
crosses in a newly created Garden of Remembrance. On each cross is a huge red heart
unquestionably symbolizing the Heart of God; and below each heart the picture and name of one
who lives on in the love of that Great Heart: Specifically, Brennan Stewart, Stacey Etcheber,
Cameron Robinson, Heather Alvarado, Erick Wolfe and the 53 others.

That cross you know, casts its lengthening shadow across all our days and all the concerns of our
days – the love that never ends, never dies, never fails. And yes, we’re free to do with it what we
will. We may forget it, ignore it, shoulder it aside impatiently as sentimental and impractical –
yet it keeps coming back like an old song, like the return of spring, like the loving Lord Himself; 3 it keeps coming back to you, this amazing, undiscourageable, triumphant and eternal love that is
God.

Without fail it will, this love of God, this love that never ends, that never dies. So, live with it. …
Without fail determine to live with the love that never fails.

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