S (Scripture): Psalm 123
1 I look up toward you, the one enthroned in heaven.
2 Look, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female servant look to the hand of her mistress, so my eyes will look to the Lord, our God, until he shows us favor.
3 Show us favor, O Lord, show us favor! For we have had our fill of humiliation, and then some.
4 We have had our fill of the taunts of the self-assured, of the contempt of the proud.
John 13:34 [Jesus says,] “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”
O (Observation): The psalmist utters a frustrated, yet faith-filled sigh to God above. This psalm could very well have been composed while the Israelites were in Babylonian captivity – pulled from their homeland and sent to live in foreign territory. He is frustrated, yet not without hope.
In the John text, Jesus has washed the disciples’ feet and is preparing them for a lifetime of challenges, and he won’t be around to help them in person. So, he teaches them they hallmark of a disciple: love one another. Not just those who part of “the Christian team.” Rather, love ALL people. This will show the world that love comes to rescue, not power or might.
A (Application): I’m really drained. I know people are venting frustrations, but I can barely look at my FaceBook feed right now. I have over 1,000 friends on FB, and my “friends” are all over the political spectrum.
I see articles that take small things and make overarching generalizations as a response. We spin stories and stats to our desires. We cry “foul” because people are hurting each other or destroying property. People are outraged for Trump being voted president. People are outraged at the protests.
I’ve pointed out some things that frustrate me about Trump followers committing horrific acts in response to their candidate being voted into office. I’ve also posted about people committing acts of violence towards those who have voted for Trump. All of it is inexcusable.
What a crazy couple of days. And all of the frustrations and angst are valid indeed. We cannot invalidate the frustrations and fears, joys and praises that these last few days have stirred in the people of our nation.
And as I read these texts today, I didn’t feel compelled to condemn anyone. I’m moving past that. Rather, I felt that the psalmist and I connected in a deep way. I felt a kinship in the frustration, and sensed that God will see us through this, even though things are topsy-turvy for now.
As far as how to move forward? That’s where the Gospel text comes into play today. Eventually (or now, if you can muster it) we are called to show love for one another. As we show love for one another, we will pause. We will listen and validate one another’s thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams and fears and worries. Deepening our connections will be the key for how to move forward. This is what will bring us together.
Let us continue to sit across the table from one another. And if we must, we will peaceably protest as we strive for peace and justice in all the earth.
P (Prayer): Lord, guide us into all peace. Amen.