I started this embroidery project weeks ago in an attempt to ground myself in something speaking words of hope for the world when I couldn't quite muster them myself. I grew tired of it and it's been sitting on my desk ever since. As I woke up this morning to a world that is literally and figuratively on fire, I sat down at my desk and looked at my abandoned craft project and sighed.
There it was, staring at me, proclaiming a statement that just seemed to mock the state of the world and the state of my heart right now. I'm sure many of us feel the same way. After months of physical distancing and uncertainty, of injustices being revealed in healthcare, in working conditions, in the ability of a person to weather this storm based on what kind of body they have, we are witnesses to even more egregious violence, arrogance, and death.
Disproportionally working-class people, black and brown people, uninsured people, and people who suffer from chronic illnesses are dying from COVID-19. Human beings are being killed by the illness of unexamined disregard for the safety, dreams, hopes, fears, trauma, and breath of black bodies. All the while impulses for violence and judgment are boiling over. For some, it's all too much and insidious apathy takes over.
So I ask myself and pray to God, "How will it be ok?" As a person of faith, I have to acknowledge the truth of how not okay things are right now and also at the same time, hold the belief that there will be new life and healing somewhere on the horizon if we take seriously what is required of us.
I think of the all too well-known passage from Micah 6:
With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before her* with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
God has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.(Micah 6:6-8)
What does Just Action look like in a time like this? Loving Mercy? Walking Humbly? With God? Tell us what came to mind in the comments because I'd love some conversation partners.
Dan's letter to First Church this week invites us to participate in the spiritual practice of listening, seeing, hearing and learning. This is something that we can all commit to doing even if we will never know the experience of our siblings. I found that this video by late-night show host Trevor Noah helped me listen a little deeper today. Just one little example out of many that we can delve into in this time where everything seems as if it is spinning out of control.
I invite you to think about these questions with me as we move through another week in this world where things seem to be in a state of falling apart. How can we act justly? How can we love mercy? How can we walk humbly? How can we do all this while keeping God close? How do we resist our impulse to put it all back together again before lifting up and honoring all the grief and rage?
On this Pentecost Sunday, where is the Holy Spirit calling us?
For me, the first step is to admit that it is not ok; period, full stop. Next, to take up my own responsibility to do the real work. And then, start to believe the still, small voice telling me that despite it all, because God is present with us and She is faithful, even if we can't quite yet see it, there is a glimmer of hope that there will be healing for all Her children, someday.
Lexi Boudreaux, Pastoral Associate, FCC