Thank you, St. Paul’s family, for your expressions of sympathy after the loss of my aunt. We’re grateful that her time of greatest difficulty was brief and that she now rests from her labor.
Last week was a difficult one not only personally for my family, but also for the world around us. Multiple instances of hate that led to death should trouble all of us deeply. This is not the way or the world that God intends for us.
I had a thought last week at a continuing education event in Wichita that I’d like to share. You may remember a few weeks ago I used the example of the housing bubble and Great Recession as an example of what can happen when we succumb to financial gravity. There have been other bubbles. The Great Depression was caused in part by a stock bubble. The tech bubble of 2000 caused financial struggles. I’m sure there have been many others. When an economic bubble bursts everybody gets hurt a lot. The alternative is what economists call a “soft landing.” Growth slows, then slows more, then maybe even stops, but a recession is avoided. The bubble doesn’t burst – it leaks air slowly instead of exploding.
Explosions – bursting bubbles – are caused by too much pressure. It occurs to me that our culture right now is under too much pressure. Jesus told us not to worry about the future, for the future has enough worries of its own (Mat. 6:34). Instead we are piling all our worries up together. Jesus said to love our enemies (Mat. 5:44). Instead we are piling on our “enemies” (and defining people as enemies that we should not consider enemies). We are adding pressure to a system (our country) that already is on the verge of bursting. Package bombs and synagogue shootings are evidence of a person who is not stable. Both of those events happening in the same week is evidence of a system that is not stable. We have a “stress bubble.” That bubble is showing signs that it is going to burst.
It seems to me that as Christians our call is, in part, to remind ourselves and others that the bubble does not need to burst – there can be a soft landing. The Kingdom of God is not at risk. Salvation provided through Christ is not at risk. The eternal love of God is not at risk. Our future is secure. What is not secure is whether our future will come after a burst bubble or a soft landing. I encourage you to take a deep breath (or ten) before your next social media post or email or conversation. Sometimes it helps me to write an email or post, let it sit for a few minutes, and then look at it again to edit or delete without sending. Republicans and Democrats are not the enemy. Atheists and people of other faiths or denominations are not the enemy. Evil is the enemy. When we hate each other the enemy wins. Don’t let the enemy beat you. Don’t let hate win.
Our November series is titled “God Calling.” We’ll be discussing how we can discover God’s will for our lives and how God may be speaking to us in new ways today. Listen closely for God’s voice. You will hear it in the peacemakers. You may even become God’s voice as you participate in the making of peace. May it be so.