"Give Thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."
[I Thessalonians 5:18]
It will surely be many years before we can assess, or even make sense of, all that has happened in the world this year. Who can say whether or not it was the pandemic of the corona virus that caused centuries of racial injustice in our nation to bubble to the surface in such a way that it has involved about all of us of all colors? It has raised consciousness in a way that feels different from similar times in the past. The demonstrations have included folks of all races and have so far remained relatively positive and peaceful.
I certainly cannot add anything new to all that has been said about racism, white privilege, the roots and history of slavery in America and in the world. Surely it is God's intention that all people should live in harmony and mutual care for one another.
Richard Rohr has written, "We are all in the sin system together and we all pass on some of the woundedness that we cannot see in ourselves, but only in others which is surely why we must love our chosen enemies... We are all on this journey together; and we are all in need of liberation together. God's intention is not guilt and shame for the individual but solidarity with and universal responsibility for the whole." (What Do We Do with Evil?)
Many of us have responded to the upheavals in our social fabric with a certain amount of anxiety. In our Tuesday evening Bible Study zoom meeting last week, our study group was reminded of Jesus' frequent admonition to "Fear not." "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or what you will wear...Your heavenly father knows what you need. Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and all things will be given to you as well" [Matthew 6:25(a)]
As Pastor Kim so aptly reminded us last Sunday, the concept of "do not be afraid," is a major theme of the scriptures.
The writer of the Book of Proverbs says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." [3.5]
One writer has said that the root of anxiety is the fear that God has lost control of the situation and that therefore we cannot trust God.
I was reminded of an adage that was in a framed poster on the wall of my kitchen many years ago. I have no idea what ever happened to the picture itself, but its words have been a comfort to me when anxiety threatens my peace.
Outside the range of our vision, God's plan is unfolding as it should.
In these times of turmoil as our society deals both with the fear of illness and the struggle to overcome centuries of injustice, perhaps these words will give some perspective that can both comfort and encourage us.
Pastor Nancy Becker