Needless to say it has been quite a month for our country and our world. Police shootings in Baton Rouge, Lousiana and my old stomping grounds Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Retaliatory sniper shootings in Dallas. Black Lives Matter rallies and protests, some peaceful, some turned violent. Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Baghdad and most recently Paris. Even today we heard of four police officers killed in Baton Rouge.
What is wrong with us?
Where is the love in any of this?
Where is God in any of this?
All of it makes me want to crawl under a rock and pretend it isn't happening. I want to wish it away and get back to "normal." Unfortunately, everything we see indicates that these types of horrific things will continue to happen. Now more than ever, we need to continue to pray for our country and our world. I have to say that I don't recall a time as tumultuous as these since I was a kid in the late 60's, when we were faced with racial tension, rioting, political division, the hippie backlash and a war in Vietnam.
They were frightening times too.
We've been talking about some of the current events at the Barrett House Church these past couple of weeks. Ironically enough, the scriptures we've been studying in the Lectionary have been especially relevant to help us work through our feelings and emotions. Last week, when the country was reeling with the Sterling, Castile and Dallas shootings, we were given Psalm 82 3-4:
"Save the weak and the orphan;
defend the humble and needy;
Rescue the weak and the poor;
deliver them from the power of the wicked."
And we were all convicted by the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-37. All of us admitted to at one time or another being the Levite who crossed the street rather than help the man. None of us like that side of us, and all of us admitted that it is a continuing process to make sure we're more Samaritan than Levite every day we live.
This week, as we talked, we again came to the conclusion that this is not an us/them problem, but rather a WE problem. And I asked what we can do to change our culture, as it seems so completely overwhelming that it is easy to feel defeated.
Jan spoke up and mentioned that we keep doing the good things that Collective MKE is doing.
- We need to keep taking food to the student in Kenosha is undergoing chemotherapy as well as battling incredible poverty.
- We need to keep feeding the homeless at The Guest House of Milwaukee
- We need to keep providing food for meals at Coming Together to Get Ahead in Waukesha. This is a mentoring program that addresses poverty and joblessness.
- We need to keep tending the gardens at Green Power in Waukesha. A program that grows fresh vegetables for the needy in the area.
- We need to keep coming together to make sandwiches for the Guest House of Milwaukee.
- We need to include, not exclude. We need communities, not tribes.
We need to do all of these things and more, because little changes can have big effects. As we talked about it in very personal ways today, the effect you have can save lives. If not saving lives, it can certainly change lives. As Brandon used to mention in Middle School ministry, we need to learn to live and love like Jesus.
And if that is not what the church should be about, I don't know what is.