After a weekend of dealing with difficult issues regarding race, institutions, facts, emotions, differing……..
The Senior Pastor at our church reminded me in church on Sunday of two very important things:
1. You are more messed up and more screwed up and more dysfunctional than you are willing to admit. Having just spent 2.5 days wrestling with the screwed up, messed up and dysfunctional ways that our country has treated different peoples differently, I can’t argue with that.
But here’s the good part……
2. You are loved more than you ever deserve. God doesn’t love us because He likes what we’ve done or how we’ve built the church. He doesn’t love us because of how much money we’ve made. He doesn’t love us because we have gone on 14 mission trips. He loves us because He wants to.
Think about that. He loves us, just because He wants to.
That’s how the thief on the cross ended up in Heaven.
That’s how you and I get into God’s love and into His Home.
And God wants us to share His love with everyone we meet.
Not just the white boys from the suburbs, but everyone.
Because everyone is our neighbor.
Not because we need to do it to “be right” with God but because God is already right and He wants us to do it because it is right.
So as we head out into a new week, maybe we take courage from the fact that God loves us more than we deserve and share that love with others – because they don’t deserve it either – but we all need it.
I’ve spent the last 2 1/2 days with some amazing people.
They are passionate about what they believe.
They are willing to step into the uncomfortable.
They are able to have hard discussions without getting defensive.
They know what they know.
But they also know that they know what they don’t know.
It was truly an amazing, open, honest and exhausting time.
What was it?
CCOR – Congregations Organizing for Racial Reconciliation held their semi annual “Understanding Racism” workshop.
2 1/2 days dealing with some harsh realities. 2 1/2 days dealing with some history that many of us seem to be ignorant of – or don’t want to deal with.
But we know that it needs to be done.
Because the Bible says all people are supposed to be treated equal.
And they aren’t. They haven’t been for centuries in many ways and while the way has changed, the fact of inequality hasn’t changed.
I’ll be writing more as time goes on, but for now, I just want to say that it was amazing…….
White people and people of color, talking, sharing thoughts, ideas, feelings and dealing with very difficult topics very openly.
In the last week, a staggering number of people I know have been touched by loss. By death, by life threatening illness, by injury, by illegal activities, by trauma, by accident. It doesn’t seem to come from one direction.
It’s coming from all over.
What do we do? How do we respond?
I don’t have a clue. I have no experience with this amount of grief and trauma and sadness coming at once.
Oh wait, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, that might have been more.
200,000 killed. 50,000 still living in tents 7 years later?
It’s not okay.
The things that have happened this past week to people who people I know know (get that?).
These things are not okay.
How do we balance that things are not okay with the fact that we live in a world that belongs to God?
How do we balance the things that happen to children with the fact that Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me?”
How do we balance the things that adults do which cause substantial problems in children’s lives years later?
Can we be okay with this?
No, it is not okay to be okay with this. It’s not okay to accept these type of things as “normal.” There are places in this world where those things are normal, but that is not okay.
It’s okay to not be okay.
And it’s okay to be angry that these things happen in a fallen world.
And it’s okay to not be okay with the fact that Jesus hasn’t made all things new yet.
We wish he would. There are teenagers and babies and 4 year olds who wish that He would have made all things new prior to this last week.
But He didn’t.
And while we aren’t okay with what has happened, we know He is still in charge.
Lord, come quickly, end the suffering and pain in this world. Amen