“I had this feeling come over me today that most people are good and decent. We just LOOK at the bad ones too much. And then our perspective is distorted and we think the whole world is like that. But most are good. Don’t @ me with all the evil present in the world. I know, I know.” — Savannah Guthrie on Twitter
“For everyone born, a place at the table, to live without fear, and simply to be, to work, to speak out, to witness and worship, for everyone born, the right to be free. And God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy.” — From the hymn, “For Everyone Born”
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we treat ourselves and also how we treat one another. When I saw Savannah Guthrie’s Tweet, I thought, “She’s absolutely right!” There seems to be a lot of negativity on the news and on social media and after a while it can become overwhelming and depressing. It’s easy to find bad things happening if bad things are all that you are looking for.
In my sermon at the outdoor service, I made the following statements:
- God challenges us to see God’s own face in the face of the stranger.
- God challenges us to see God’s own face in the one that we would rather not see at all.
- God challenges us to see God’s own face in the one that is called dog (or monkey heard on the news since I wrote the sermon) or alien or any other word that denies humanity.
To live these statements is by no means easy and yet this is what we are called to do. We are called to see the face of God in every human being. The disciple’s response, “This stuff is hard.” And they are correct.
As challenging as it is to see the face of God in others, I also know that for many it is hard to see the face of God in themselves. When they look in the mirror, they don’t see the image of God, but instead they see someone that doesn’t measure up. Someone that isn’t pretty enough, or someone who weighs too much, or someone who has too many wrinkles or too many pimples, or someone who has failed too many times. This “stuff” is hard, too!
Our own insecurities are so often behind the way that we treat others in the world. There is a constant pitting of one group against another when in fact we are all children of God. The hymn above captures an image of what the world could be if we moved past the divisions and into a world that is shaped by the kingdom of God.
Loving all of the created is hard. Loving yourself may be hard. Loving the world enough to see God’s kingdom breaking through can be real hard. And yet, this is what we are called to do. We are called to break down barriers between peoples and we are called to love one another.
Can we look for the good in the world? Can we look for the inbreaking of God’s kingdom around us?