I don't know what to say. Bombings in Beirut, Baghdad, the sky, and Paris, shootings in Texas, hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees with no place to call home. I don't understand what drives people to want to kill, and cause fear and chaos. At what point does a switch flip that causes a person who is hurt or angry to decide they need to express that by killing a bunch of people? Some do it for notoriety. Some do it for perceived glory. Some do it just because they can.
The question now before us is: what do we do in response? My facebook news feed is absolutely filled with opinions. They range from bomb them to smithereens and close our borders to any refugees while closing the Mosques, to recommendations that we welcome the refugees in order to prove that we don't hate Muslims. I have no answers to the larger questions, but I do know that the Biblical witness is full of admonitions to welcome the stranger, to care for the widows and orphans, to open our hearts and communities to the homeless (remember Sodom, according to Ezekiel?). I know that the separation of church and state has happened because I hear so many Governors trying to close their borders. Where do we go from here?
God of us all we come before you in grief for those who have lost their lives or the lives of those they loved. We are in grief for persons who misunderstand the tenets of their faith so completely that they think killing others is justified. We are in grief for ourselves and our families as we react in fear and close ourselves off from the world. You have promised to be with us no matter what happens. You have told us time and again to be not afraid. Tonight we rest ourselves in your gracious, mighty arms. Tomorrow we pray for your guidance, and for the courage we need to go on............Amen
Aahhh, the Trick-or-Treaters! From tiny princesses to very large bloody ogres they came. Our town doesn't have set hours, and this year they started late. The smallest came around 5:30, and we turned off the lights at 8:15. We had 246 cute, funny, scary, horrifying young people come to the house. I must admit that I love it. I love seeing the costumes. I love visiting with the kids. I love that parents and kids are participating together, for the most part. I love living in a small community in which there is still an air of innocence to the whole proceeding.
They came, black, white, brown, healthy and sick, on foot, in strollers, in wheelchairs. Most managed to squeak out "thank you", while others just looked with wide eyes and unmoving mouths. It is one of the few times of the year we welcome everyone no matter their race, their ability, their special needs, their economic status, their family of origin. There are those who insist that Halloween is some satanic conspiracy. I think it is one time in which we truly welcome others as Christ has welcomed us.
Oh God, we come. We come healthy and happy. We come wounded and in pain. We come tired and burnt out. We come excited and looking for opportunities for ministry. And no matter how we come, you meet us there. You wrap your arms around those who are tired or wounded, you dance with those who celebrate and call us to new adventures in mission. May we also meet others as they are, and not as we wish they were. May we work with you to help them be the people you want them, and us, to be............Amen