|The wolf shall dwell with the lamb
Another day, another heart wrenching headline. Will it ever end? Must we go on increasingly polarized, fearful, aching for those who have lost so much, whose lives are shattered, and yet finding ourselves paralyzed by helplessness? What can we do amid so much horror, so much pain, so much brokenness? It can’t get much clearer that our world is far from the image we have of God’s vision for the world in Isaiah wherein:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
A far cry indeed. And the debates rage about how to fix it, while the death rates rise. All the while we become numb to yet another tragedy unfolding before our eyes. I was struck by what Malcolm Gladwell describes in his Thresholds of Violence, that we are caught in ‘a slow-motion, ever-evolving riot’ where the increasing shootings since Columbine in 1999 has made it ‘possible for people with far higher thresholds—boys who would ordinarily never think of firing a weapon at their classmates—to join the riot.’
Ours is an age of violence as a primary form of communication. A terribly broken and ineffective ‘fruit’ of our not having the courage to reach across the lines that divide us, to see, affirm, and live what is God’s truth: that we are one. Which is why being part of a community of faith is so important. Not that we all like each other, nor that we are perfect. But that we are bound together by our common commitment to strive toward the world of God’s vision.
Church is the place where we are reminded of God’s dream for our world, and we are called to follow a different way. This way is radical and challenging. It requires us to see the world as God sees the world, to see differently and therefore to act differently. It is harder than most of us even realize. And not one of us lives into it fully. But that doesn’t stop God from calling us and using us, even in our imperfection. And it doesn’t mean that God’s dream isn’t moving to fruition, even if the arc is long indeed. Just because our little part may seem small and insignificant to us doesn’t mean that it is so to God.
Church is where we dare to ask and answer the question: how are we participating in God’s mission of healing the world? This First Sunday, we will share in an All Parish Forum. While we won’t be addressing the larger questions of brokenness in the world directly, we will be working on the important step of talking about where we are as a community of faith, and how we can best respond to God’s call to us here and now. Learning to see with God’s eyes can seem like taking baby steps. But as we commit ourselves to being a community of love, we are transformed in Love, so that we dare to challenge the status quo as we live as Love’s presence in this world.
Hope to see you Sunday!