Greetings, beloved Community,
I sit here on a beautiful August day, aware of how lucky we are to live in a place that is peaceful and beautiful, green and abundant with flowers and fresh produce. Even before my family added cable television to our lives this summer (so that we could follow soccer’s World Cup), we were aware of how many people in our world are not similarly blessed.
Speaking as a person who was lucky enough to be born with a hopeful outlook on life, this summer’s newscasts have been difficult to absorb. We see stories of children forced by life circumstances to enter our country unaccompanied by their parents, and Americans who greet them with hateful signs and protests. In the Middle East, we see ages-old enmity flaring into violence that takes our breath away, and fundamentalism of various sorts seeking to squash the human spirit. In areas near and far we see ways in which power is used against the most vulnerable, and we read of people living in fear or addiction or desolation.
As a church community we’ve been addressing some of these issues in our worship services, and trying to begin the arduous process of discerning what we can do about all of this sorrow. Our faith tells us that prayer is a good response to disaster, but our hearts and minds tell us that only praying isn’t the answer. It is our hope that our prayers will bring about the courage and guidance from God that we need to move into action. But how does a wee community so far from those places of pain that we’ve been hearing about actually make a difference? That’s still not clear, but to believe we could have no influence on our world at all is not tenable.
I don’t have any concrete answers yet to how our church and community could respond to the crises of the world, but as I ponder it I’ve been thinking about a song I’ve been enjoying lately. The song is called “So To Speak,” and it’s from Sting’s new musical, “The Last Ship.” It wasn’t written about this topic, but I find real resonance in the emphasis on love, compassion and grace being our best bets in this world of woes:
Our mission is more than a struggle for breath,
For a few extra rounds in a fight to the death.
When our mission is love, and compassion and grace,
It’s not a test of endurance, or a marathon race.
For love is the sabre, and love is the shield,
Love is the only true power we wield,
An eternal love is all ye should seek,
That ship will be ready to sail…So to speak.
May it be so.