For many of us, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind. The emotional impact of the events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas have certainly gripped our Nation. Last weekend, our Pastor shed some light on these incidents in a biblical context, and offered some food for thought for the week ahead that I would like to share with you.
The sermon began with a quote from Howard Zinn’s, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times. Mr. Zinn says, “If we only see the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
These situations can leave us feeling powerless and questioning, “How can we hold on to faith and love when it feels like it is impossible to do so?” This is more than a religious question (however, those who are religious can certainly point to scripture to work through these problems). Americans, and humanity as a whole, is asking itself, “How can I see good in the world when events like this occur on what seems like a daily basis?” I would agree with my Pastor and say the answer to this question is hope. We have to hold out hope when it is not easy to do so, and when the path forward is not clear.
In addition to holding out hope, we should consider and evaluate how we are responding to these events. Are we joining a protest, attending a vigil, reaching out to our neighbors, calling our politicians, or posting on social media? How we as individuals respond to these incidents makes a difference. Are we perpetuating hatred and angst, or are we seeking understanding?
This week, and in weeks to come, I would encourage you to take the advice of Pastor Pete and 1) hold on to hope, and 2) ask someone who is affected by these events how you can better understand their position.
I think hope and better understanding will work to lessen the hate, cruelty, and injustice that we continue to see in our world.