Saturday, July 9, 2016

Confessions: While Standing At The Crossroad

     I feel as though my life experience and my education are inadequate to unravel the knot of what is happening around me.
       I need to learn.
             I need to listen.
     I need to be able to help bear the burden of my brothers and sisters with greater sense of understanding than what I can offer.
     The rhetorical chatter on television and other media is like the constant roar of vehicles passing by each other on a six-lane freeway; hurriedly moving one direction or the other toward a stance that seems defensible.

     Alone in my car yesterday, I thought to myself...I wonder if I am sometimes more interested in finding support for my position than I am in learning about the pain that my brother or sister is experiencing.  Christ help me.   

I am privileged these days to have friends that are from cultures other than my own that will speak into me words of understanding.  I cannot share all that I have been able to hear and grapple with these past days, but it has been precious to me.

Our congregation is a mix of people from at least 10-12 different countries, including the U.S. and I am proud to be part of their family...
- My bible-study on Wednesday was with five friends from Kenya.
- Sometimes people from other nations in Africa attend this group, as well as a couple from Argentina.
- I am privileged to work with African-Americans on our church staff; in our office and as our Worship Leaders.
- I met yesterday with a small group of church leaders; black and white.  We ate, we talked, we prayed, and despite the difficulties of the week, more than once we managed to laugh together. 

All of these people are helping me to grow...to be educated...to understand some of the details.

     However, in the end, perhaps there is a point where the specifics should no longer be addressed; because the solution is more general.  I will never know all of the details of a matter that took place in another state or country and the news reports will never grant me insight into the hearts and minds of those involved.  Is it at all possible for me to judge rightly...ever?  Why would I wish to be the judge anyway?  That is a position I do not envy in any way.
     So, even though part of me wants to have an answer, an inarguable and precise assessment of the situation, I feel as though I am arriving at a response more general than specific.  The solution is more simple than complex.  I feel we are always being pushed to judgement and that is just not my role.  Today, I am being nudged in a different direction.

Paul put it this way: (The Message Version Bible)
       12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!       13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said,  "I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Hate.  Put it down.  Put it down.  Put it down.
Trust. Hope. Love.  Pick them up.  Pick them up.  Pick them up.

This is not some flowery response.  It is not a cheap out.  It will cost.
I will have to shut my mouth when I want to speak.
I will have to yield when I want to take control.
I will have to take a breath and bow my head when my emotion says otherwise.
But...
This will be my role.
This will be my judgement.
This is where I will find rest.
This is where I will find peace.
This is where I will find the heart of my brothers and sisters.