Sunday’s Scripture ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 10:12-22
The “Do” of the Collect prayer form is the petition portion of the prayer. Contained in the petition is a double “do” – (1) what we want God to do which in turn will (2) lead us to do for others. For example, “Show us mercy (God do this) so that we can show mercy to others (we will do for others).”
But what about the times when you do not feel you can do one more thing? Those times when you feel like more things are being “done” to you and I am not talking about a day at the spa, shopping spree, or tickets to see your favorite team take on their biggest rival. I’m talking about those days when you have two flat tires on the side of the highway and it is pouring down rain and the bolts are so tight on your tires that the tire iron will not loosen them and you are two hours late arriving to an event two hours away.
I’m not speaking from experience…but events like these come close to a day that Andrew lived a few months ago.
It is moments like these where we feel like all of this junk is being “done” to us and it jades us from wanting to “do” anything at all. Or if we do anything…it is for “me”. Human nature is to defend and secure ourselves when we feel under attack. Thoughts of caring for others quickly disappear. Like a turtle we shrink back into ourselves.
Sometimes the question of “why is all this junk being done to me” can be answered. There are causes and the “done-ness” is the effect. But sometimes we ask that question and the answer we receive is silence. We do not know why. What we do know is that God has been here before. God has been here with God’s people – not understanding, asking why, feeling used and abused, feeling frustrated, feeling angry, wanting to care only for self, consumed with survival and not turning an eye to the revival of others. God has been here before – and God has seen God’s people through time and time again.
I treasure God’s love letters to God’s people contained with the Torah – like our text for this week. The words of these love letters bring incredible assurance:
“Remember, you were once a slave and stranger in a foreign land and I brought you out of that.”
“Remember, there was a time when all of this junk was being done to you and I was your constant companion, your hope, your guide.”
“Remember, there has never been and there never will be a time when I will not do for you…and because I do, you will do also.”
Junk happens. Junk is done to us. Sometimes we can control it and sometimes we cannot. So lament the junk and let it roll off your back. As my colleague Lisa says, “Breathe in the goodness of God and exhale the garbage.” I am sure we will question “why” junk happens and is done to us for the rest of our lives…but we will never have to question whether or not God is with us in it and if God will lead us through it. Our God is faithful. Our God does for us. And in gratitude for all God has done and continues to do, we are invited to do for others.
Prayer: “All who love and serve your city, all who bear its daily stress, all who cry for peace and justice, all who curse and all who bless: Risen Lord, shall yet the city be the city of despair? Come today, our Judge, our Glory, be its name, “The Lord is there!”* Amen.
*”All Who Love and Serve Your City,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 433.