Wait in Faithfulness
Valerie Walker of Portland, OR, USA
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. -Mark 13:3-8
There are times in life when we wonder where God is amid great distress-whether in our personal lives or in our worldwide community. We may seek signs or be tempted by voices that would lead us to make unhelpful decisions. And yet difficult circumstances often lead us to birth creative solutions and provide opportunities for ministry.
As I write the city of Portland, Oregon, USA, faces a crisis of homelessness and a loss of funding for international refugee resettlement. Recent national political decisions have led to increasing hate speech and oppression against people of color and ethnic and religious diversity. Many have been mourning, wondering what the future will bring, and asking where God is in this worrying experience. In response, members of the interfaith and ecumenical networks in the area are enhancing their relationships. Muslim, Sikh, Jew, and Christian are together bringing messages of peace and justice to the region.
Recently I was with 500 faith leaders gathered at the state capitol to speak to government representatives about homelessness, racism, violence, hunger, health care, and poverty. Several attorneys have pledged to assist refugees and immigrants to obtain citizenship. They created an endowment fund to keep the assistance program running. When needs are made known, people have responded in creative ways. “Beloved Community” is being proclaimed by those sharing pulpits and meals across faith and racial traditions. They are birthing new awareness and remaining disciplined and vigilant in the struggle to follow the Spirit faithfully despite detractors who say it cannot be done or would adulterate our faith.
Our prayer is that we listen to one another and stand together, ready for times that call for great faith and endurance. The God of all will lead us through.
“Over the years we melt into what we seek” (Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year).
We are in the threshold between seasons in the Christian calendar. You may have been noticing the physical transitions of the seasons wherever you live as some enter the depths of winter and others the warmth of summer. The seasons are a visible reminder that even among the most predictable rhythms and routines of our lives, change is always happening. The events of our moments, days, weeks, years form us and transform us over time. We enter each season different from when we arrived here last. This is the nature of this cyclical journey of faith. In these final days of the Christian calendar and the season of Ordinary time, there is opportunity to take a sacred pause, to notice how you arrive in this threshold. What have you been formed by this year? What has been deepening you as you’ve lived through another cycle of this life of faith?
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.