Actually, nothing has changed, has it? The truth is it has always been about us. What are we willing to ignore? How much are we willing to put up with? How low are we willing to go?
Peter Story, a Methodist Bishop from South Africa once remarked that during the apartheid years, he was always deeply ashamed of his nation for the immorality of such an unjust system. Every day of this presidency and this administration I am identifying more deeply with the pain he felt and what he was saying.
Where is our basic decency? When will we say enough is enough, and begin to reclaim the standard human decency that has always created hope around the world?
God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation
We pray for those who have fought, whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
We pray for those who serve us now, especially for those in harm’s way.
Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and our enemies
May the peace you left us, the peace you gave us,
Christ Jesus, hear us! Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!
I am currently dealing with a number of good people who are angry. Much of that anger is being expressed at me, but I understand why they are angry and what is motivating their anger. The source of their anger and the pain that is causing it is far deeper than me or my words and actions.
Dealing with ugly realities is never easy, and it is especially difficult in a society where we have always desired not dealing with anything ugly, messy or painful. An example is this quote by Voltaire. It is an ugly truth that will immediately make many reading it upset and angry. That, however,m doesn’t change the truthfulness of the quote.
It’s o.k. to get angry at ugly truth and painful facts. But, if we analyze the reason for our anger we have the opportunity to grow from it.
We can then work to either accept or change the ugly truth which makes us angry. Or, as in the case with some of those who are now directing their anger toward me, we can ignore the truth until it becomes an infection of anger and bitterness causing us to lash out in pain.
The only problem with the latter approach is that the source of the infection, that ugly truth still needs to be dealt with, doesn’t it?
A brief, yet powerful sermon we all need to heed. Having just returned from a trip that included both India and Nicaragua, this resonates with me more than ever. We all need to stop being so sensitive to personal affronts and far more sensitive to the real pain, greed, and injustice that fills the world.
One of my favorite quotes is that all Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel, and if all else fails we can use speech. That’s exactly what Mother Teresa is telling us.
We can all be living expressions of God’s love and kindness. Allowing the love of God to flow through us is a true gift to a world that’s hurting and hungry for genuine love.
A Prayer of Hope
Let us pray:
We pray today for God’s world. We pray that it
might discover its human face. We pray for a
Divided unequally between the prosperous and
Between those born into privilege and power and
those born into poverty and pain.
Divided unequally between the wealthy and the
The power-filled and the poor.
The greedy and the poor.
The corrupt and the poor.
The poor who always get more than their fairshare
God of life, into your world you come. Into this
divided human community you arrive.
You sit amongst the poor but the wealthy do not
You walk with the lonely and the abandoned but
those with power cannot hear your footsteps.
You stand among the hungry crowds waiting for
food but the greedy will not share their food with
You live among the powerless, the frightened
and the weak but the corrupt fail to notice you
and continue to exploit you.
God of hope, deliver us all from selfrighteousness
so that whilst we may call the
world towards a different way, we might also, in
your name, become the
answer to the prayers of the silent, suffering,
God of justice, not just us, grant us the courage
to live as well as proclaim your gospel.
God of life, grant us the energy to serve others in
God of love, enable and allow us, with
all our weaknesses and fears, to
continue this walk of faith, for faith
and in faith.
a prayer by the Rev David Pargeter, Executive Director, Commission for Mission, Uniting Church in Australia)
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Victor Frankl
Heroism comes in many guises. It’s not always the bravery of a soldier giving his life for his comrades or the selfless actions of a firefighter risking her life to save a child from a burning building.
As Frankl so eloquently describes, there are heroes who simply do what they can to comfort others in their time of need. The do whatever they are able to make pain more bearable and offer whatever hope they can bring.
All of us have the freedom to be that hero. All of us can carry hope. We are not asked to give away our last piece of bread. But, as Frankl points out, we all have the freedom to choose our own way.
What will we choose today? Will we turn selfishly inward, or will we choose to care enough to be the bringers of comfort to those in need?