...the violent chaos of those who would take advantage of trying times to "stir the pot" of division.
We've lost the lives of over 177,000 of our American neighbors and friends and far more when the entire human family is considered. The enemy is unseen, but the effects are very real, very visible, aggregiously robbing us of education and employment routines and the benefits of a stable economy.
And then there's the violent media circus swirling around us, seriously challenging our ability to hear and recognize facts, to discern reality from theater, training us to mistrust that we're hearing the truth, almost no matter who's talking. We are well past "Interesting times" -- historic levels of disruption - for good and for ill -- have been wearing us down.
So far, we've risen to the occasion, and then slumped like a marathoner at mile 26. We've geared up again, masked up, "bucked up" even, and then we have our moments of sinking down, melting down, checking out. It's been a lot. And the finish line is not only not clearly in sight, its hard to make it out at all from where we stand now.
The good news is God is here. God is aware of how bad it is. God hasn't turned away or thrown up any divine metaphorical hands. God is with all who have been affected by the terrors of natural and human activity. God's been here all along. God gets it when we have good, productive, purposeful days AND when we feel lost, confused, disoriented or want to check out with a movie or personal gallon of ice cream!
One of the most powerful truths of how the Spirit of God works is that we often receive what we need the most when we give away what God has given us to share with others. Like many spiritual truths, it can seem counter-intuitive; the short-cut to receiving deeply is to give deeply.
*So, let's give ourselves time to cry-that often helps-and then let's call a friend who might need a shoulder as well.
*Let's journal or talk to friend and then let's send a card of encouragement or pick a project to do for a neighbor who might be struggling in the heat.
*Need an emotional "leg up"? Call someone who might be needing that as well.
*Feeling lonely, isolated or robbed of components of daily life you miss? Commit to reach out to someone who will listen, and ask them to try something new together with you.
*Overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all? Sit in the silence, listen for God's gentle words of comfort, feel God's mighty arms of steadfast love, soak up the kind of peace that doesn't depend on circumstances to be real and transformative.
Let's spend extra time in prayer, sink down deep into the pool of grace, and as we do, take with us prayers for the families who are suffering at the deepest levels due to violence or injustice. And then let's make a donation to an organization that advocates for or helps to restore victims of violence.
*Concerned about the election? Volunteer to make phone calls, help voter registrations or provide support to a cause you believe in - a cause you know that Jesus cares about.
*Looking for a way to get re-charged, find a new perspective? Join one of our book study conversation groups. Or, watch a documentary, listen to a TED talk or find inspiring music to soothe your soul.
*Still can't figure out what to do? Call your pastor-she misses you. :)
God is here. We are here - together. You are surrounded by the light of Christ. We can choose to focus on and live in the light even when times are tough. God's spirit goes before and behind us all.
Breathe deep and shine your light!
See you in worship Sunday - share the link, invite a friend!