We go out into the world each week. We go to work. We buy our coffees. We visit the grocery store. We drive. We adventure. We watch the news. We listen to the weather.
And we find that it’s horrible out there in the world. Listen to the news. Listen to other people. Drive in traffic. It’s horrible out there. People are horrible.
Ever notice, we often become people we don’t want to be out there in the world? We say what we didn’t really mean to say. We don’t say what we really wanted to say. Sometimes, we have no idea what to say or not say. It’s confusing out there.
We think that the apocalypse is coming or is here. We fall into despair and wonder: why isn’t the world a better place? Maybe we wonder: where is God? How could God let this happen? Why is God letting this happen? Maybe we’re just so mired in the out there, that we don’t even consider God in the equation.
Let’s take a nice, big breath, settle our hearts, and notice. PAUSE It’s not so terrible in here. People aren’t so terrible in here. We actually like the world in here. We like each other in here. And it’s okay if sometimes out there slips in to in here and we’re not the best version of ourself. We also forgive in here a bit more quickly.
Life’s pretty good.
Let’s remember that the apocalypse has been coming for a long, long…long time. Since the beginning and the beginning before the beginning. Life may be horrible out there, but I would NOT want to live in pretty much any other time throughout history. It was pretty horrible. We have always been waiting for the end of the world, but as a whole, we’re pretty good.
Let’s face it, people have been saying “kids these days” and “they’re going to be the end of it all” since the dawn of time. Every new invention is going to turn our brains to mush. I know I’ve said this before, but the novel…oh my goodness, that was going to ruin us. No one would ever get anything done ever again. We’d all be busy with our noses in books and never get anything done. And worse…the gothic novel!!!!!!! Terrible stuff. That was gonna turn us into horrible people.
We just keep repeating. And I’m not saying there aren’t problems and we aren’t moving too fast with too much and we can’t keep up. But there is also perspective. It’s not the end of the world. And people aren’t as mean as we choose to see them. The world isn’t as awful as we see it portrayed. We know this, because our neighborhood is pretty good. In here is pretty good.
Life’s pretty good. We get overwhelmed and caught up. We tend to grasp on to the exciting and get lost just following along with the tribe.
And we ask: why isn’t the world a better place? PAUSE. Maybe you’re pondering that right now. Maybe even getting upset and worried and sad. PAUSE.
Why isn’t the world a better place?
We could spend a lot of time on that question. And where does it take us? Is there an answer? PAUSE.
Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Looking outside of ourselves. The world. Other people. God. PAUSE. There is really no answer to “what is wrong with the world?” And your answers are not my answers, my answers are not your answers, and none of us has The Answer to that question. There is no answer to what is wrong with the world. We know this because we’ve been asking it since the dawn of time.
We ask it and we get mired in worry, fear, sadness, grief, depression, anxiety…but what if we reframe the question?
How can I make it better? PAUSE.
That question always has an answer. Big, small, and everything in between. It’s also less depressing and reminds us of our Work in this world. Each and every single one of us is important. PAUSE. Don’t get lost!!! The world is full of things to help us get lost. Don’t.
How can I make the world better? Maybe it’s simply to be a less angry driver. Maybe it’s to feed the strays. Maybe it’s to listen to someone in need. Take the step…
Lent is a time of Pause. Sabbath is a time of Pause. Sunday is a time of Pause. To reconnect to what really matters. To get in here from our there and … REMEMBER.
I’ve been exploring “intentions” lately. Intention is like a decision already made. One you don’t have to think about or waste energy on. It just gets done. In some ways it’s like a habit, but an intentional habit you create. You didn’t develop teeth and suddenly start brushing them. You were taught to brush your teeth and set that habit.
Intentions simplify and creating clarity around what matters most.
We may set an intention to go to church each Sunday. When we miss our intentions, we sometimes get befuddled. We get befuddled when we create an erratic schedule: Do I? Don’t I? An intention to go to church eliminates the Sunday morning: maybe I won’t go today, it’s too cold, I don’t have anything to wear, I’ll go next week. We just go. Decision made in the past by that set intention. We have lots of intentions, intentional or not.
Simplicity is a practice in poverty and Lent encourages us to explore poverty. This isn’t poverty about giving away all our worldly possessions, but to consider what is enough. Enough stuff. Without simplicity, we have a cluttered mind, a cluttered body, a clutter heart.
Simplicity is poverty in actions. We try so hard to do it all and know it all. Intention helps us to choose wisely what’s most important to align with who we really want to be. To not get caught up in the worldly, but to use wisely the worldly. We might know we’re misaligned, and have lost our intention, when we find that the world around us is … horrible. PAUSE.
Poverty of words. There are so many, many words out there. Words to twist. Words to discover. Words to explore. But a poverty of words brings us back to the collective intention of this place: Love. One word: Love.
It all comes back to love thyself, love they neighbor, love thy God (whatever that means to you).
Healing is love. Feeding one another is love. Mercy is love. Forgiveness is love. The wilderness temptation is to strip everything away to the bare essentials and back to love. In all temptation, grief, hurt, struggle…somewhere there is love and if we focus on the love it leads us to more Love.
Our universal intention in here is love. Our core mission is love and we come back each week to remember.
It’s so easy to forget out there. We encourage each other to forget: to be busy, tired, overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, down, ill, broken, tough, unhappy…over being loving, peaceful, forgiving, kind, gentle, joyful…
We might come here with out individual intentions. Maybe it’s to remember that the world isn’t horrible, that people aren’t horrible. Maybe it’s to remember the feel of comfort. Maybe it’s to share our struggles with one another. Maybe it’s to share our blessings. Maybe it’s to remember that we are needed. To connect with neighbors and friends. To be. To forgive ourselves. And our weekly intention is encircled by our bigger Intention here: Love.
Sunday morning is a weekly vacation to remember the world is a Gift. A blessing from God. What can we do to make it even better!!!! Especially when it seems to need us the most…