Real Mission: Telling the Truth
Can we be really hones with one another for a minute?
I want to tell you the truth. I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was plagued with worry. I didn’t worry that I wouldn’t have enough to eat in the morning or that I might not be able to afford air conditioning for our home. I didn’t worry that my children would get sick and I wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to the doctor’s office or the medicine they might need to be well. I didn’t worry about where I would wash my clothes or about the reliability of my car in getting me to the grocery store.
I didn’t have any of these things to worry about, and so I worried about what could be. I worried about not being in control of the future. I worried that some freak accident would change the course of my life, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a difference. I worried that the world wouldn’t change. That I wouldn’t change. I worried that I would be troubled. That I would have something to be troubled about, and then I realized, I did have something to be troubled about.
Last night, I laid down my head in a place that is within walking distance to another place. A place where another child of God laid their head down last night knowing that the next morning there would be pain and hunger and an audible hush of help from their society. A defining sound that rings in the ears of the oppressed without ceasing. A silence that says, if only you’d worked harder, you might not be in this situation. A silence that promotes division and enmity between neighbors.
Sometimes I hear the troubled ballad of Ray LaMontagne and I wonder if his muse was the Holy Spirit.
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble. Trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born. Worry, worry, worry, worry, worry. Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone.
Then at all-consuming concern interrupted by grace and truth.
Well, I've been saved by a woman. She won't let me go.
The Holy Spirit has a hold on all of us, and she is calling us to participate in the work of ensuring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for these our neighbors.
In truth, we are much closer to suffering than we may imagine; not the kind of suffering that kept me up last night. Not worry, which cannot add a single hour to your life span, but trouble, trouble in our relationships, in our policies, and in our systems of governance.
Well, I've been saved by a woman. She won't let me go.
I woke up this morning determined to let love lead the way, and not let worry consume me. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, there is something you can do to change the reality that the place where you lay your head is not available to all people?
Can we just be honest with one another for a minute?
Do you think that you and I can continue on living with worry as our constant companion when worry does nothing to change the reality that some people have something to worry about, while others allow this trouble to paralyze their ability to do something about it? Worry, my friends, is a sin. Worry keeps us from trusting God, it keeps us from believing that we possess the capacity to change the world into a more loving, just, and peaceful place for all people. I live with sin and so do you.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. -1 John 1:8
We, together, united in bonds of love, must tell the truth about the real trouble in our midst. This is what people of God do. We tell the truth, we repent of our part in the denial of dignity to all people, and then we amend our lives so that we do not go on sinning.
So, do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. -Matthew 6:31-34
Today is a new day. A new opportunity to tell the truth about the trouble in the land. A new occasion for repentance, and forgiveness, and change, because the one who saved us won’t let us go. Won’t let us go on sinning and allow us to expect peace when we lay our heads down at night. Won’t let us go on lying to ourselves about our sense of entitlement that causes us to take more than our fair share. Won’t let us go on denying a Christ who comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Maybe the truth is that we are too comfortable, and so God is troubling our mind to wake us up to the reality of suffering in our midst. We should be troubled. Troubled enough to tell the truth.
I am convinced today that worry has kept me working. It has shackled my God-given ability to speak truth to power and has bound me to a system of silence that speaks not of the injustices in our policies or the hostility in our politics.Thank God I have been saved by a woman that won’t let me go. Thanks be to God that Jesus broke the chain of death so that we might be free to tell the truth.
I want to live with a renewed sense of purpose in life. I want to do God’s will with cheerfulness during the day, so that when night comes, I can rejoice with God, not lay awake worrying about what tomorrow might bring for me or for my neighbor. I want to speak truth with you.
God loves you, and God loves your neighbor down the road who doesn’t know if tomorrow will bring an eviction notice, or a medical bill double the amount of their checking account, or a tiny little voice saying, “Mamma, I’m hungry,” while there’s no milk in the fridge and no food on the shelf. Love your neighbor as yourself. Tell the truth that your neighbor’s worry is your worry, and then work to make worry a sin of the past as we move together into the light of day. A new day.
Then Jesus said to the those who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ -John 8:31-32
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