God is in our Midst
The last week or so has been very hard—disorienting. As I said on Sunday, it feels like the world is upside down. I have watched in distress at the threats to the vulnerable among us, the callous disregard for the poor, the immigrant, and the refugee, the disregard for the Christ in our midst. I have watched in distress at the threats to our vulnerable planet which is itself an expression of God’s own life. I have watched in distress as lies become the norm and facts become “alternative.” It is hard to know what to protest from minute to minute—how to react and respond. And while I know many of us are engaging in acts of resistance, it is all exhausting. And it is easy to become despondent.
I have no easy answer. There is no easy answer. One thing I do know is that it is important to take care of your soul in times like these. You do not have to spend every moment of every day watching the news or glued to Facebook. What we are facing is a marathon, not a sprint. So rest, choose something to focus on each week and do that. You cannot do it all. You cannot save the world—that job has been filled already. Eat well. Be with people who feed your soul. Read some good books—maybe even Scripture, a commentary on Scripture (like Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Genesis: The Book of Beginnings), or one of the liberation theologians. I highly recommend Elsa Tamez’ When the Horizons Close, James Cone’s God of the Oppressed or The Cross and The Lynching Tree, or Gustavo Gutierrez’ On Job: God talk and the Suffering of the Innocent.
Pray. Then pray some more. Make Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) part of your daily prayer routine. Or listen to the Canticle of the Turning (a catchy Irish tune setting of Magnificat) every morning every morning.
Come to church—spend time to be fed at the altar table and by the community. Sign up for one of our House Church gatherings—a chance to be fed at the Eucharist and then around a dinner table.
None of us knows exactly what will unfold over the next days, weeks, months, and years. I am, however, sure of a few things. One is that God is in the midst of all of this—as Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Pasadena writes, “This week feels like night. And God is a night owl.” God seems to specialize in what feel like hopeless situations (see: Good Friday). The other is that God works through us. Yes, you and me. Flawed and afraid as we are. God does God’s best work through the imperfect and the hesitant (see: Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Paul, Peter…). So do not be afraid or timid–trust that God is with you and working through you (and remember that courage is simply fear that has said its prayers). Finally, I am sure that God always has the last word. Maybe not right now. Maybe not even in my lifetime. But, as Anne Lamott says, “Grace (God) bats last.”
It is a blessing to walk this journey with you.
Artistic credit: This icon, Christ of Maryknoll, was created by Brother Robert Lentz, O.F.M.
April 23, 2020
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