OCTOBER 17, 2020 SATURDAY
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. — Psalm 51:17
Dear Church Family,
In this week I have directed our focus to prayer. I have a prayer I struggle with, and ask God’s help. My prayer – to the blessings in these present days. Where do you experience “blessings” in these days?
I went for a “safe haircut,” this week. I asked my stylist how she and her husband are doing – and their grandchildren who often stay at their house during the day and on weekends while their parents work. Her husband’s job is headquartered in another state. Until the quarantine, he spent weeks and months away from home. She tells me the good things happening for him, for her, and the grandkids with him working here, from the house. She said — “we focus on seeing blessings, even in this terrible time.”
We divide the world into good and bad. Deadly viruses are bad. Vaccines are good. Unless we’re effected, we pay little attention to injustice, the plight of the poor – those who have to decide between fixing their roof or buying their life-sustaining medications — those now unemployed or underemployed. Politicians we agree with, and those we don’t.
When we pray the Confession of Sin, receive Absolution – we remember we live lives of contrition before God, accepting our co-responsibility for evil that surrounds and pervades us. If we only complain about these terrible times – what we bear — our suffering, we cannot come to contrition. Is God concerned for what this crisis exposes, lying beneath the surface of life, we’d rather not see and feel part of? If suffering and loss are fate, and gains are luck, fate does not lead to contrition, nor luck to gratitude. One of the blessings of these days may be to listen for the changes God would have us make in our lives, and strive to bring to the world around us. They mustn’t be huge and world-changing — they need to change us and open greater compassion for one another.
Our lives are interconnected in this world. Conflicts within us, as well as beyond – our families, friends, neighbors — people in our larger communities, our nation — even the world. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we believe it or not. It’s our faith. When we “get it,” God changes us, and “not we ourselves.” As we claim our part – our responsibility, we can be made change-agents. Choose the life of Christ, and pray to God for the Holy Spirit’s assistance – to live a life of forgiveness, peace, love and compassion, beginning with you – so that God’s love can flow through you. As pastor John Perkins of years ago said — Our lives can evoke others to ask, “What must I do to be saved.” Blessings are all around us — even now. Be a blessing – don’t just wait for one to come your way.Peace this day, my compatriots in blessing – both seeing them and being them, Fr. Steve