Stay in your Lane
"Stay in your lane." It is an interesting phrase. When spoken, it is typically an invitation to get back into their lane and, in a nice way, "mind their own business." That is hard for us but has good value - we should care about others but not meddle in others business. I find that an interesting suggestion given the cultural conversations in America in the summer of 2020. Conversations are happening about the proper place of historical symbols in our midst, some with a particular racial "charge" to them. There are conversations about bias and how we can identify bias that we may have that we may not even be aware of. We are having conversations about balancing science and faith when it comes to pandemic response and how to have more activities "safely." Whew - A lot is going on.
Our current sermon series is called "The Heart of the Matter." It is a walk through the message that we offered from God through the Scriptures in Amos and 1 John. Amos is called out of his shepherding to deliver God's word to the people of Israel who have lost their way. They are going through the motions of faith, but there are little authenticity and substance. They have fallen prey to worshipping the gods of the day instead of the God of history. They had forgotten that before they became prosperous, they were once poor and foreign. In short, they have forgotten who they are, and they have lost their way. They are not reflecting God's heart nor God's will.
Think about driving as an illustration. I did some long-distance driving recently. Let's say the speed limit is God's will. On the interstate in most places, God's will is 70mph. Some blow by the speed limit at 90 mph or more - they just don't care what the limit is and pay no attention to it. Some want to know where the limit is because they want to ride just below or above it. Then some don't even want to come close to it - they are going to ride at 45mph no matter what the speed limit is. They don't want to come close to any breach and will play it safe, but the problem is that they play it so safe that they may be more dangerous than the speeders. The speed limit is for the benefit of all. God's will is for the benefit of all. When we go our own way, we are hurting ourselves and the larger world around us.
I see a lot of hard things lately, and I'll bet you see it too - demonstrations that turn violent; hatred and frustration; selfishness, and disregard for others' experiences and perspectives. Jesus is clear that we are not supposed to judge others; we are supposed to love them, even when it may be hard to. Jesus teaches us that by loving us on the cross, which was anything but easy. Put in modern language, we are called to stay in our lane, but always remember that our lane isn't the only one. There are other lanes and other drivers all around us.
Could we commit together Long's Chapel that we will embrace the part of our mission that reminds us that "All people matter to God?" Let us not just say that, but believe it and live it. Because everybody matters to God (and should matter to us), but not everyone knows it yet. Let us commit to the common good, which is beyond everyone looking out for themselves. Let's stand out and step out and offer God's love, even when it's hard to do so.
Friends, sharing God's love in the world is so very important right now. Let's commit to being a part of the solution and less a part of the problem. God has a vision for a peaceable kingdom which we realize every time we drive a nail in a home for a single mom, every time we offer a meal to a hungry soul, every time we stop and pray for a hurting person, every time we take time to ask a friend how it is with their soul. Every time we reach to a hurting person. Pray. Stretch. Repeat.
Hope to see you Sunday.
Lead Pastor, Long’s Chapel