Deb Crowley of Urbandale, IA, USA
Collectively and individually, you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened. -Doctrine and Covenants 163:10a
How I wish I could will the word “they” out of existence at times!
It’s so easy to love, share our resources with, sacrifice for, and extend grace to family members and extended family members. It’s not so difficult to expand our care to others in our sphere of influence, those whose faces we know and connect with. For the most part, we understand circumstances surrounding their choices and give folks near and dear to us some “wiggle room” or grace. Our hearts see the Christ in their eyes and hearts, and we understand they are loved unconditionally.
But do we ever notice, as the circle expands and faces become less visible, that it’s easier to judge or blame or criticize? It’s harder to see Christ in the eyes of a politician arguing a position with which we disagree on the senate floor or become suspicious of decisions of church leaders struggling to decide how to keep the church financially viable while congregations struggle to keep their own doors open. Or see Christ in the eyes of a gun advocate when innocent children have been gunned down in school.
The further our circle widens and the harder it becomes to see Christ in the eyes of the “other,” the easier it is to label them as “they”! “They” are just caving in to big money; “they” do not empathize with our congregation’s situation; “they” are crazy to support gun ownership when so many innocent lives are lost! The “they” list goes on and on.
I’ve been (and probably continue to be) one of the “they”! And I’ve been one to label “they” when decisions seem unreasonable or disagreeable to me.
But we are reminded that, in Christ’s realm, we do not live in a “they” world. It’s “us” and “we.” All are of worth; all are called; we are community. The love we have for our close circle of family and friends is the love Christ calls us to have for the “they” in our lives.
Experience of being a “they” has helped me tremendously to understand the importance of not jumping to quick conclusions, looking not just at one side or two of an issue, but as many sides as possible to get a clearer picture of another’s choices or actions.
To see Christ in the eyes of those we cannot see, but know Christ resides there; to show compassion to those who express harshness and hate; to generously share time, talent, treasure, testimony with those who seem to take and take and take; to sacrifice self for one who may never appreciate the act. To love the “they” in the world because all are God’s children. This is my prayer. Amen.
The kingdom of God is among you (Luke 17:21).
Ordinary Time is a season for waking up to what is already here, to the kingdom of God already among us. Spend time each day breathing in the presence of God wherever you are. Notice how simple interactions, tasks, and relationships are sacred opportunities to share and receive God’s love, justice, and peace. Pay attention to the sacred quality of everyday, ordinary life. How is the kingdom of God seeking to be embodied through you each day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.