I don’t know about you, but I am getting weary of all the bad things happening out there. Not that I shouldn’t be aware of it. I feel for those being hurt by gun violence, I have empathy for those families who have lost loved ones, I feel helpless on how to support families that are separated from one another. I am angry over leadership that sticks its head in the sand about climate change, racism, gun violence, anti-Semitism well the list could go on.
But what do I do? Recently I was at a Synod meeting and I asked the question in regards to the Sanctuary Declaration by the ELCA. The first thing that was said was we should pray and discern before we even discuss how to deal with this issue. I have heard that before and generally this leads to little or no action at all.
When I was younger I was so angry when I would hear this wait and see, be safe and don't say anything controversial. I am still angry about hearing this and even though I know we should look before we leap, I have become very impatient with not doing anything at all.
I realize that I cannot solve all the problems of the world and the church at least in its current form cannot either. However, it seems that just praying about those things that I see in the world that denigrate the lives of others and cause terrible outcomes for generations to come is not what God wants me to do.
Sometimes I think God weeps over us, the pain we cause and the pain we receive. The pain and anger that God must feel over the struggles of his children, both the victims and victimizers.
I have been given by the church, a pastor’s voice (not how loud I can yell) but what I say has impact or at least can have. How I use that voice to show God’s love and compassion or the prophetic voice which calls for change and repentance, matters. Sometimes I feel when I do use that voice, I feel like one crying out in the wilderness and no one hears me or its seems like no one cares. But that should not stop me or any of us who follow Christ, to speak words of justice, mercy, compassion, taking seriously the needs of our neighbors. Then acting accordingly.
I believe that God has called me to action when I see my neighbor in pain along the roadside (Good Samaritan). I believe I must speak when I witness systemic injustice that separates my neighbor from their children. I must confront falsehoods spoken about climate change that will impact the children of myself and my neighbor for generations to come! If I do not, I will stew in the juices of feeling mad and sad, which does my neighbor no good. So I will speak and act, maybe just maybe I can make a difference in both my neighbor’s life and mine.