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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble . . .”
What a week it has been! Another horrific tragedy in Boston. More hateful comments placing blame for it on Massachusetts’ embrace of marriage equality. It makes my soul tired that people can be so cruel, so vicious, and - yes, I’ll say it - stupid as bat poop! It is exhausting to try to fight off the anger; or, at least, to let it pass through me and not allow it to take root in my spirit. I’m so tempted to decide that when Jesus said, “Love your enemies” and “Forgive seventy times seven,” he couldn’t have meant these [insert your expletive of choice].
It is so disheartening, to me, when words that should affirm my faith and bring comfort do not have that effect, because we have heard them so many times, following so many human-on-human atrocities, that they come off sounding trite and empty. But one reaction this week struck a chord, not only with me but with hundreds of thousands of people. Actor/comedian Patton Oswalt posted a reaction to the event on his Facebook page. It went viral. As of this writing, it has been shared 252,447 times. Make that 252,448:
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you whatever you did not do
for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
I had one of those experiences, last Thursday, which operates like a mirror held in my face, forcing me to look at myself and ask some hard questions. Don’t you just love those? I spent the day at the Legislative Workshop sponsored by the NC Council of Churches. From the Council’s website:
The North Carolina Council of Churches is a statewide ecumenical organization promoting Christian unity and working towards a more just society. The Council enables denominations, congregations, and people of faith to individually and collectively impact our state on issues such as economic justice and development, human well-being, equality, compassion and peace, following the example and mission of Jesus Christ.
I am so in love with this group! They are not just talking the talk; they are walking the walk! I heard speakers, and met people, who are “out in the trenches” working on various projects from legislative lobbying to sitting with grieving families of victims of gun violence in Durham – in their homes, in court, wherever they need support. They are living out their consciousness of who Jesus is and what he was about during his time on Earth. They are living out their understanding that the universal church’s primary raison d’etre is to continue the work necessary to fulfill his mission to “proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, [and] set the oppressed free.” These folks put to shame those Christians who feel they have done their duty and have done God a favor, in the process, by showing up at church on Sundays.