There’s a saying among clergy (the origins can be traced to theologian Karl Barth) that we should preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. What we say to a congregation we are serving must address our faith and the lived realities we are experiencing. It’s important to answer the “so what?” question of why this text written thousands of years ago has actual relevance in someone’s life right here, right now.
With that thought in mind, I scanned some of the news headlines this week (from NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post), and here’s what I saw:
-The Derek Chauvin Trial in Minnesota
-The officer who shot Daunte Wright resigned as does the Brooklyn Center police chief
-Officer Billy Evans lies in honor at the Capitol
-Senate poised to advance bipartisan measure aimed at Hate Crimes against Asian Americans
-Health officials pause the Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine
-How and why the Coronavirus Variants are Spreading
Weariness for the state of the world began to sink into my heart. And this was just scanning the headlines, not reading every article from these news sources.
This global pandemic. Racism. Hate crimes. Violence. Division.
The weariness was there, as was the realization that our Christian faith has something to say about the world as it is right now. How do we interpret Jesus’ most important teaching in light of what we read in the newspaper or experience in our everyday lives?
Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Given the state of things, given our daily lived realities—how do I love God?
How do I love my neighbor?
How do I love myself?
How do you?
(This Week’s Thoughts 4.15.21)
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash.
I play the piano, and pray at the same time. It brings peace to those who listen. It is free playing, in that I don’t use written music. I just play, and let it flow. It took a while to be free to do this, so playing is therapy for me. I can play written music, but I prefer to play without music, in a free way. It is usually music no one knows. I have several tunes that are my favorites. They came as I practiced my skills at the piano. My sister used to play original tunes. I guess they just came. She encouraged me to try this. I did, and it wasn’t easy at first. She said, “Give your hands to God, and ask for a tune. He will give you what you have asked for. Play the piano in His Presence. Work on the tune that comes until you can easily play it. She was delighted when I found a new song. Dad, and I wrote the first one together. It was talking about overcoming circumstances through faith that God gives us. Smile.