Thursday, October 18, 2018

I love you, O Lord my strength, * O Lord my stronghold, my crag, and my haven. Psalm 18:1

Sometimes I get lost in the need. My need to know more consumes my understanding of what I am supposed to be. I need to know more to do – I need to know how to help – I need to know how to FIX things. The fact that I feel unable is often overwhelming.

Yet, I know I cannot create houses for all those who are homeless. I cannot provide the money for all the bus tickets I could hand out daily. I can’t make poverty disappear or fix the broken school system. I don’t have enough blankets or coats or anything to make things well. And neither does Fr. Bob or United Way or Urban League or the Dream Center or any other nonprofit agency in this or any other city. Occasionally, falling in a heap on the ground and curling into a fetal position seems to be the best thing for me to do. I have never done that, but it certainly feels possible at times.

Too often it appears our journey is no longer a journey; rather, it is simply a struggle to maintain. We are so involved with our personal survival that the bubble through which we see the outside world becomes thick with the sludge of purposeful ignorance. As the need and pain and violence and sorrow assail us, the desire to protect ourselves becomes stronger. That means isolating ourselves from the needs of others.

That seems to be the way of our current world, our country. Isolating one from the other. Creating a sense of fear that causes us to grab what we have and hold on tight. All the while, those who have much attain more while those who have less lose even that.
I want a God who responds like the one in Psalm 18:1-20. I want a God who hears the cries of distress, who causes the earth to reel and rock as the roots of the mountains shake, with smoke from God’s nostrils and a consuming fire blasting from the God-mouth, parting heavens and swooping down through the clouds with hailstones bursting and the Most High voice thundering. A God who reaches down from on high and grasps up those in distress from the great waters and delivers them from their enemies, from those who hate them simply because they are not white, they are not rich, they are not male, they think differently or speak with another language or are not straight.

I need to know that God is on the side of the oppressed – not just because scripture tells me so but because I see CHANGE.

But then. I remember. There is Love. And where Love is, God is. That is change and it is unchanging.

With every pair of socks, every hat, every scarf, every coat, every morsel of food, it is in the offering that God is there. And every small thing becomes bigger than our need to know more when it is wrapped in that Love. Because, as much as the warmth of a piece of clothing or a full belly, love is often the missing ingredient.

There is only one thing I need. That is, the only thing I need is to understand that God is in the midst of it all and what I do not know or cannot do is not important. The only thing I need is to know that God is all there is. 

I am not alone. We are not alone.