There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “May you live in interesting times.” In other words, stay away from boring. This phrase affirms that certain times feel more consequential and the more danger exists in the times in which we live, the more potential for awakening, breakthrough, and creativity.
Well. . . if you have caught up with the news this week then you know that America has faced interesting times this week. I’m sure we all have opinions about what we’ve seen - truthfully I don’t think any of us should be surprised. The “outburst of emotion” we saw this week in Washington DC was certainly predictable given the rhetoric and tone for the last several months. And yet last night I watched Congress fulfill its constitutional duty and do their best to try to help us turn the page in this chapter of American history.
Truthfully - knowing that one of the most precious values of the Kingdom of God is. . . Unity. God is grieving with us in this moment where we can look in the mirror and see the fractures within our culture with fresh eyes.
Politicians will have a political response to this moment. But what I’m most curious about is our response as followers of Jesus to this interesting moment in time. When I look at the witness of Martin Luther King Jr. (whose birthday we celebrate next week), I see a man who was willing to absorb all the chaos around him on behalf of a people and a country and it cost him his life. What will your faithful response be?
Please pray for outgoing president Donald Trump (and Mike Pence) and incoming president Joe Biden (and Kamala Harris). Pray that wisdom, discernment, and grace be bestowed upon them.
Please pray for all of our “leaders”, those you agree with and especially those who you don’t agree with.
Please pray for children who watched the events of the last few weeks and months with curious eyes - please pray for the lessons they have taken away.
Please pray for our leaders in all branches of government - that they will be faithful and sustained in their task of leading “ALL” of us to a brighter future.
Please pray a prayer of repentance for ways that our hearts have carried hatred and prejudice and division in ways that have torn down without the vision of building up.
And ACT -
I am a firm believer that we should act out what we long to see more of in this world. I pray that the things you want to see more of are closer to the heart of a God who sent Jesus to crawl up on that cross to bear the sin of the world for all. You can honor that sacrifice and that love - by sharing love. The Scripture is so clear on this:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation of our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4)
Truth be told - anybody can pitch a “fit.” But it takes real courage and strength to love in the face of anger - to chart a course of peace in the midst of hate - to hold fast to love when it seems least likely to take. When Jesus was up on that cross - He offered words and peace and love to those who put Him there when with one word - He could have wiped them all out. His legacy is clear - the question is what will you and I do with it.
“May you live in interesting times.” It isn’t just a Chinese proverb, it’s actually a curse. It’s said, tongue in cheek, to wish hardship on someone. Well. . . I truly believe that the hardest moments bear the sweetest fruit. The hardest moments give space for heroes to be born.
O God, You made us in Your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus Your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish Your purposes on earth; that, in
Your good time, all nations and races may serve You in
harmony around Your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen. (BCP)