Monday, December 4, 2017


 Why Bother? 

flikr: Erin Leigh McConnell
But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

I can remember lying in my dark bedroom as a 13-year old with a knot in the pit of my stomach. The
realization that the world was so much more complex than my own life hit me hard. The news began to mean something. Words like Cold War, first strike, nuclear annihilation meant huge parts of the world could suffer. Hearing about trickle down economics made me realize some people were OK with favoring the rich.

My Sunday school faith was failing me in the face of the world outside of church and family. Nothing I learned in those comfortable rooms with a half-smiling, hippie Jesus seemed to apply to the real world. Who would think that a nuclear war was a good idea for any reason? Why do powerful people only act in their self interest? Where was the light in the darkness? Where was God?

I'm certainly not alone in my political and spiriutal coming of age moment. Teens coming of age today in the midst of news of nuclear tests in North Korea and trickle down economics v.2 are hearing many of the same headlines. None of it is new. The writer of 2 Peter 3 is addressing people who are wondering about the state of the world. Thousands of years ago, they wanted to know why bad things were happening and where was God in all of it?

We experience this disconnect between what is and what could be because we sense that the world should be a more fair and equitable place. We’ve been given an intuitive understanding of God’s Shalom or peace and justice. We know enough about the Bible to picture what that should look like. 

The space between our current reality and God's Shalom is vast — and has been for most of human history. This can create feelings of despair when we witness ongoing evil and exploitation, words that mean acting with unchecked self-interest. We may be tempted to say, Why bother? and decide to indulge our own passions of greed, lust, anger or derision.

But, this passage reminds to be God's people even when it seems like the world around us is going to hell. We don’t join the “scoffers” and mock and jeer other people. Nor should we get “carried away with the error of the lawless" and decide to take what we need and live only for ourselves. Rather, we proclaim the Jesus agenda.

  • Each day we get up and pray for the world to be a better place, including prayers for our enemies.
  • Each day we get up and love the people God puts in front of us, even if they are Samaritans or Muslims or refugees.
  • Each day we get up and participate in the Kingdom of God that is present around us by loving God and our neighbors.
 We have to take it on faith that God’s goodness will prevail. We follow Jesus even when it feels like it's against our own self-interest. Advent reminds us that we may not be able to see it yet, but God's Shalom is, indeed, coming.

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