I have spent my life looking for the good in people. I have always believed that at our core, goodness will be found. If we are created in God’s image, how could we be anything else? But this year has been a bit of a challenge for me. In watching the news, I can feel the cynicism creeping in and overpowering my thoughts. I can feel the evil pressing in and trying to convince me that people are less than or other or not worthy of my time.
But I know this isn’t true. God gave me one job: to love. Fully and completely and always. So many times this year I have had to take a deep breath while looking at the people causing inconceivable pain, and remind myself that God loves them. If God loves them, then so can I. It may be hard, but with God’s help, I can do it.
Loving them does not mean I have to like them, though.
This year has revealed some severe abuses of power by people who claim to be our leaders. They have used fear to control, all while claiming they are following God’s will. Their claims fall flat though when we realize God never rules out of fear. God rules out of love.
Isaiah reminds us of this when he says “The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child shall lay his hand on the adder’s lair.” (Isaiah 11:8) Isaiah is giving us a view of what can be, a place where fear does not exist because we are no longer a threat to one another. Isaiah is revealing a world where peace reigns because love reigns.
Dreaming of this world God promises is wonderful.
Watching the potential of this world fall apart these past few months has been rough.
I’ve had to come to terms with elected leaders attempting to destroy our Constitution while casting doubt on an honest election, blatantly ignoring the voices of our people.
I’ve had to watch, once again, as our church uncovers the complicity of priests and bishops in covering up egregious abuses of our people.
This year has been frustrating, but it has also revealed to me the beauty of standing with those who are hurting, especially those the powerful have abused. This year has been a year of intentional connection. No longer could we rely on casual contact with others to remind us of our place in the world. This year we created our own community, growing and becoming who we are while connecting with those who make us better. We found the people who stand by us and the people we need to stand by when times are troubled.
This year was a reminder to live as the Lord asks us to live, “to do Justice and to love Kindness and to walk Humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) There is a power in these words. There is a power in the justice God calls for, a justice where equal distribution of power and privilege exist among all people.
I forget sometimes that we are powerful together, not because of wealth or influence, but because of our love. Thank you for being here with me during this year. I am so grateful to stand by your side.