Yesterday, I took cookies to some police officers. I felt a little silly. I’m a professional, after all.
What was I doing schlepping through Kroger looking for baked goods mid-afternoon? Weren’t there more important things to be doing in this world of larger-than-life problems on the day after the terrorizing massacre in Las Vegas?
Giving blood, perhaps, or contacting elected officials? Speaking up with thoughtful opinions?
God calls us to fully engage with our world, taking our beliefs about love and justice and peace and helping to create the rule of God here on earth. When we pray “your kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer, we are called to be a part of that happening, here and now.
Perhaps one of the hardest things God calls us to do is to resist the intense polarization in our society today. God calls us to listen in deep ways, not assuming the other person is squarely in one political camp or the other. Life is more complicated than that. These issues – guns, violence, terrorism – are more complicated than that. These issues matter, and nothing will change if we are all consumed with vilifying one another.
When we think all violent perpetrators are Muslim and all Christians are good…
When we quickly choose sides in protesters vs. police conversations and forget that we are all saint and sinner…
When we claim red or blue and then believe whatever one camp shouts on social media or the news without question or dissenting opinion…
…we all lose, because the truth is messy, and we find it in the middle.
It’s messy, and people are dying, and we aren’t sure what to do. We get anxious, we grieve, and maybe, we freeze, unsure of what to do or how to help.
And so, for me, for now: cookies. Cookies and a thank you note for the folks who are always on call and ready to serve when these tragedies happen. A small act of kindness on a corner in North Raleigh. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.
You should’ve seen the smiles. The officer at the front desk sent a big thank you back to Good Shepherd.
We hope our community always remains far away from senseless acts of violence, and yet, we know it can happen anywhere. And those cops know more than most of us how much senseless violence is taking place in people’s homes and ordinary lives already.
In light of the mess, let’s be kind to one another. Let’s try, with God’s good courage, to live with open hearts and open minds as we follow God’s call into the fray.
And let’s trust that God goes with us.
Peace be with you+