Thank-you for your kindness in hearing my last post. Let me just say, I am a peace-lover and a peace-maker. I like when people understand each other, or at the least, care enough about each other to be dignified. I never listen to political debates and cannot stand controversial meetings. I would rather put up with all manner of disagreeable feelings than drag them into the air. “Can we just all get along?” would be my slogan if I ever ran for any sort of office. And yet I went and stuck my foot right in it. Maybe I can pour a little oil on troubled waters here in this space?
I know everybody is tired of Covid, and for a few months this summer, we got to go back to normal. It was so wonderful that we swatted away warnings about the Delta variant like pesky flies. And yet, here it is. Over the whole world again. This is how I feel: Shucks. I don’t want Christmas to be over. I hope and pray we don’t have to enter another lockdown and if they mandate masks again, I will feel sorry for my loss. But I will not in all conscience be able to say that “they” are all stupid power-grabbers. “They” might actually be trying to fix things with a rather limited amount of tools that the majority of people are calling stupid. Of course the powers that be use any means they can to climb the power ladder. That includes all the ordinary, hard-working people under them who like and share their agenda. The meanness is not a new thing, but the modern means of pitting brother against brother in a public forum has to be a lot more efficient than the dreadful ads politicians used to put into the newspapers to smear the other side.
But that isn’t the kingdom we are primarily concerned about as children of God. It seems like this is where much of the trouble lies. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting to prevent my arrest…” I mean, this was his life He is talking about! A look at the in-fighting of the past year indicates that this could turn into The Longest War. What if our churches and communities could become enclaves of peace and breathtaking kindness?
I have a few ideas.
Maybe we could listen, very quietly, for the still small voice of God’s Spirit. If we don’t believe He is here with us in this mess, we might as well hang it all up and go home. Just possibly He has something to say to our unrest. Just possibly He wants to change me!
Maybe we could find someone who is in a very different place than ourselves, and we could listen to each other. I hear you, and I am trying to understand your position. They might even become our friend. Maybe we could even care so much about each other that we do inconvenient things to show it.
Maybe we could ask ourselves the hard questions about how we are making our choices these days. And if honesty suggests we need to change some choices, we could be humble enough to do it.
Maybe we could stop mocking people for being stupid. If she wants to wear a mask in the park, is that really hurting anybody? It’s just a question I have.
Here’s a good one! Maybe we could delete social media if it is tripping us up. It’s just a suggestion, and not relevant to everyone, of course. I haven’t missed facebook for a few years now. If I wouldn’t creep onto my husband’s account sometimes, I would be better off in my spirit, but that’s probably just me and whatever silly Enneagram I happen to be.
We could enjoy the beautiful gifts right in front of us: this amazing summer, these flowers blazing glory into the world, this perfect ear of corn on the cob, this person in my household who loves me. Maybe we could recognize effort even when the performance is not as good as we wish it would be. We could look at the cashier’s face and say, “I appreciate your help,” and we could thank the delivery guy sincerely, and live in a wave of gratitude for the miniscule.
Maybe we could get to know people in our neighborhood, do things with each other, notice each other, wave and smile. There might be plenty of things for us to do right here in our local community if we laid down our phones and tried to find some actual people.
Friends, I know many of you, and I know this is how you are already living. These momentary afflictions are… momentary! They will produce glory. Your faithfulness to Jesus in this day matters. What you do with your hands today, and how you speak your words, it all matters.
“Unprecedented times,” they say, but that isn’t quite right. It’s just in our lifetime that we have become so soft to the sort of stamina that is being asked of us.
We are not alone in shouldering this burden. Remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before, and they are cheering us on. Go read Hebrews 12 if you need a boost. Read chapter 11 too. Actually, just take a half hour and read the whole book. Better things are coming!