Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent, Day 13: Save Me

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

- 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

I was in the car with my daughter yesterday and a report came on NPR about Boko Haram and the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped several years ago. The gist of the report was that while this was the story that made the biggest headlines, atrocities committed by this group against women and girls run much deeper than that. We were almost home -- not quite -- and normally I would leave the radio on until we hit the driveway. But yesterday I turned it off. I didn't want my daughter to hear about it.

I didn't want to hear about it myself. Not that day.

A friend of mine shared a story on Facebook yesterday -- photojournalism of the atrocities currently occurring the Philippines in the name of a "war on drugs." I began to open it, and when I came to the requisite disclaimer about graphic images, I closed it down.

I chose willful ignorance yesterday because I didn't want to see those things.

Many years ago I met up in my former hometown with an old friend. He had become a Southern Baptist in college. As we sat in the village square, he mused, "There are so many people here who need saving."

This rubbed me the wrong way. So I replied, "Don't we all?"

From what do we need to be saved? "That we may be rescued from wicked and evil people," we read above. Yes. God help the Nigerians, and the Filipinos, and all those who are suffering violence around the world. God help the water protectors of Standing Rock. God help the union leader who is being threatened with violence because he dared call out our president-elect on a lie. God help the homeless whom local governments doesn't seem to understand have a right to exist in their community. God help those standing in line at the coffee shop who are verbally assaulted by men who see only targets to intimidate in order to assert their dominance.

That's not all we need saving from. God save us from lack of love.

God save us from thinking even for a moment that we cannot love, or that we cannot be loved. Because when we fall prey to this idea, we become those from whom others need to be rescued.

I believe that no matter how bad things are in the world, life is worth living wherever there are opportunities to love.

May God strengthen you and me for the work of love in the world.

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