I have attached the video of the service. You are welcome to share if you think it will be helpful to someone or in your network. Because, as I said, our actions on social media also matter.
Please don’t forget Souper Bowl Sunday. We are collection donations and non-perishable food items to support our local food pantry. If you use the “donate” link, please note that it’s for the Souper Bowl.
I’m lucky with work and a call that means I am in a life of Reflection. It is a gift.
I got lost this week. I got spun this week. I had an entire reflection written out. Scripture reading. Prayers. Hymns. This is not it.
I’ve spent the last few weeks talking, listening and thinking about the world’s problems. The really big problems. I won’t list them. I’m sure you can figure out what’s been on my mind and on…everyone’s minds.
I’ve been having really big and deep conversations. I’ve been reflecting on where do I begin? Where do we begin? What do we believe and do as a community?
I listened to other people. And…I listened to other people. I got lost. I heard the message: I’m not doing enough. I need to do more. More. More. I heard the other message: this is what I’m supposed to do, say, read, believe, spread….
I started wrestling with those messages. I wrote and I thought and wrote, but something felt “off”.
I always say, always, that if I can make a difference in one person’s life, it will be enough. That our small works matter and they ripple out to make a big, collective Good work.
Why didn’t it feel like enough anymore? And that, too, felt “wrong”. I felt unsettled as I wrote and thought and wrote some more.
Then, do you want to know what else happened this past week?
This past week we, as a community and the circles that ripple out from us, ran the gamut of the small stuff: from emergency vet visits, to children in mental health crisis, from medical procedures, to ambulance calls, to PTSD triggerings, to quarantined family members, to sick friends, to deaths, grief, loneliness, terrible hopeless fear, to job loss, to the toilet flooding the bathroom….
I realized that I was busy listening to a message that I had to focus on the BIG things, and do this BIG work, and (worse) “this way” in some instances. I wasn’t listening to what I know in my heart matters. I was in my head, but not with Grace.
When derailed by doubt, denial, and anger, I go back to the stories. All the imperfect and confused people in all the sacred works of all time. The doubters (Thomas), the deniers (Peter), the angry calling down the wrath of God and then feeling anxious about it. Nobody is perfect. Everyone is making mistakes and, yes, failing.
It brings me comfort. Comfort. That, I believe, is one of the biggest (and yet small) calls to action right now. Comfort. Creating and holding safe, sacred space. Our call is to help our neighbors and friends and family. That’s not to say that there aren’t people called to big action, but we can act in small ways that cause a ripple effect of peace. And that matters. And often, that is enough.
We can learn from stories of those we admire. Because tomorrow is Martin Luther King day, let’s talk for just a moment about him. This is a man to admire. He led a non-violent movement against oppression. He led us to significant change. He was willing to die for his beliefs.
Rosa Parks…and then I’ll come back to King. She did one small act (that we remember) and it became huge. It could have been nothing. It became everything. One of the reasons it became everything? Rosa had friends. Friends who backed her up and said, we’re not going to stand for this treatment of Rosa. It rippled out from there. She was not alone.
King was not alone. He had a whole community backing him and pushing him. The unnoticed people doing the background work, some of that was simply living honest, good lives. The other thing is he devoted his life to this one mission with single minded focus. He didn’t try to fix every social issue or get distracted by other big issues. He didn’t work for saving the environment or women’s rights. It’s not to downplay his work (it can be easy to criticize), it’s to make a point. He worked on the thing in front of him that needed him. Then the great work he did in that one niche rippled out to others during their missions; focusing on what was in front of them that needed them. He had focus that moved his mission forward and inspired others in their own niches.
I want to say this because the message is out there that we must fix it all (often in “this specific way”, not in our own way).
I want to say that our small works…matter. They are enough. If what we are called to do is comfort our neighbor, feed our neighbor, plant a garden, and be kind…it’s enough. It matters. If we are quietly posting messages of peace and love on social media, that can be enough. It truly ripples out. The people who helped me find calm in the chaos this past week? Those who sent and posted photos of flowers, art, message of kindness and peace. Posts that reminded me to think and reflect, but also that things are OK and we are Good.
Our focus on peace in all aspects of our lives matters. Our small works making one other person’s life better matters. Our small, individual acts to bring comfort and Goodness matters. Being models of Peace and Love matters. We may never know the impact of our work. We may never know what we did to influence another person’s life and where that ripple leads. That we lives small lives that match our words…matter. If we want to spread peace, we can’t spread anger. If we want to spread love, we can’t spread hate.
Our prayers for peace in ourselves, our community, our nation and the world matter.
Practicing loving everyone, even and especially those we would really like to hate, matters.
Our collective work ripples out and it matters. It matters. It ripples. That people quietly and simply know what our small lives stand for, and don’t stand for, matters.
Our little work is enough, and we have no idea how we influence others. Perhaps those out doing work greater than our small communities. Our small actions matter. Listen to our collective prayers! We are rippling out.
Be the unique person that God created you to be. There are a thousand different paths to the same Love (I like to call it Kindness). If we meet ourselves and our daily work with honestly and integrity, with love and with peace, and then surrender the outcome to God, it is enough. Trust that you have done your best and have faith that God will lead the way and can manage the outcomes.
It’s okay to take care of the garden, fix the toilet, and take the cat to the vet. In fact, that matters more than we might believe. Our simple daily interactions have more impact than that one big thing we could do. If we stop believing that, then we have lost faith.
Be you. The unique person that God created you to be. Our small lives matter. Jesus was one single small life that changed the world. Choose to walk the path of Jesus with Love and Peace.
Mini Prayer for the Week:
Peace. Peace. Peace. Amen
Weekly Work: how many times can you say Peace during the week? If we want it, lets spread it, maybe, simply by using the word all week long.
Bonus: how many words can you find and use that mean “peace” (maybe a good assignment with the kids).