As our time apart due to the pandemic goes on, I’ve been wondering what exactly this experience is doing to us, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. How are we dealing with the constant flow of news and arguments over the news? How are we dealing with disagreements among friends and families and, especially, what is it doing to our children?
The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear,” but there seems to be plenty of which to be afraid these days.
Taking appropriate steps to be safe is common sense. Letting fear rule or anger rule our behavior makes no sense for people of faith. So much more is expected of us. Time to trust the perfect, suffering, reconciling love of God. It is a love which says “No” to the forces that diminish life and says “Yes” to love, even at great cost. It is a love that will change us until we find we cannot help but be burdened by the pain of others and find ourselves asking God to use us to make a difference with all that we are, say, and do.
“Perfect love casts out fear.”
Few of us will be called on to make ultimate sacrifices, but some members of our family — the human family — are called to make those sacrifices in love every day. For most of us living in the first world, we will be called on to make the difference for love in smaller, quieter ways. Still, small things matter. It’s the tiny drip, drip, drip of water that wears away stone, and the slow, insistent growth of tender blades of grass that, over time, turns concrete into rubble.
You and I can make a difference every day, even in ways as small and humble as these:
We can awaken to thank God for the day and ask God to cultivate in us a spirit of gratitude and grace through which to meet the day.
We can ask the Spirit to move through us during the day to help us see other human beings through the eyes of Jesus.
We can take the initiative to greet and to speak thoughtfully to strangers, especially service workers who help us throughout the day.
We can offer the gospel in thoughtful words and deeds and pray God will let us see the opportunities to do this given to us throughout our day. We can include in words and deeds how we spend our money and how we give our time.
We can be the ones to follow The Letter of James’ teachings on the power of what we say and be sure what we say reflects the heart of Jesus growing in us. We can refuse to be held captive to those who use the power of the tongue to make us afraid, too.
We can take to lunch a friend, colleague, or family who you know has been neglected, bruised, or wounded by a church — even if it’s a pandemic-inspired lunch using Zoom. :) God can use you to restore a relationship between the person or family to faith that reflects God’s heart and makes a meaningful difference.
We can ask God to identify for us those people who we seem to have the hardest time accepting as God’s children and ask the Lord to show us what we have in common.
We can forgive those who we find ourselves in conflict with while, also, asking God to help us set appropriate boundaries. (Some people bother us. Some people would abuse us or others if we let them. To those people, it is within God’s will for us to say, “No.”)
We can commit ourselves to be 24/7 disciples of the ways of Jesus, that we become faithful, joyful, hope-full “doers of the word and not listeners only.”
We can close the day thanking God for being God, for bringing us through and giving us faith and courage to be made a little more like Jesus, who died to set human beings free, every day.
Grace and peace,