We didn’t get all the snow our weatherman predicted, but I awoke this morning to a gray, pea-soup fog, the frosty kind that leaves the evergreens glazed head to toe. The fog stayed for a while, long enough for me to give the boys two extra warnings about driving to school. Go a little more slowly, please, since you can’t see too far ahead of you. They listened to me and wholeheartedly replied, yes ma’am. Or maybe they said, I know, I know! in that irritated, why-do-you-tell-me-stuff-I-already-know kind of voice before rolling their eyes skyward.
Ya, it was closer to the second.
Eventually, the sunshine pushed through the fog and reached our corner of the earth, slowly defrosting all the ice and cold. I wandered our yard with camera in hand, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine against the frigid air. The light will do that, you know. It will warm and soften, and it’s invitation to savor is impossible to ignore.
I came back inside, sat my camera down, and opened my computer screen to see the paused video of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream” speech. The kids and I listened to his entire speech on Monday, and we talked about how important his work was then and still is today. We talked about how he reminds us of how far we’ve come, but he also reminds us of how far we still have to go toward racial equality for all Americans.
Even as I’m a sanguine who generally lives her life on the hopeful upside of a curve, I can turn the corner and find myself heading downward toward total frustration. I get tired of waiting for the way things are supposed to be to become the way things are.
Pastor Mark Bates talked about this Sunday as our congregation continues reading about King David’s reign over Israel in 2 Samuel. While David was a godly king who led with more wisdom and compassion than the previous one, David still faltered–both because of his own sin and because of circumstances handed to him. All in all, he was only able to bring a measure of limited justice to Israel.
King David reigned over a disappointing kingdom, and we live in a disappointing kingdom today. We live in the tension between how things are and how they ought to be. On a good day, this is frustrating. On a bad one, it’s downright despairing. I find myself craving a more hopeful direction within this place.
“As Christians, we look at the Word of God and we say, “What’s the world supposed to be like?” We look at this world and we see its brokenness and we look at the comparison of Scripture and we say, “I’m going to move toward the vision of the world God has laid out in his Word.” We’re not going to get there completely, but we still move toward that godly vision. We fight for a world of justice and for a world that seeks to heal the brokenness. In doing so, we follow in Jesus’ footsteps.” ~ Pastor Mark Bates
I don’t pretend to bring much to the table, and heaven knows I’ve not always done what I could with what little I have. Forgive me, Lord. I don’t know everything I think I know. But I do bring a heart willing to look at the Word of God and let my actions reflect a move toward God’s vision made clear within its pages.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” ~ Romans 12:18, ESV
And this is what I also hear: So far as it depends on you, Kristen, listen better today to those who see things differently than you.
So far as it depends on you, Kristen, remember today that every living person is made in the image of God.
So far as it depends on you, Kristen, love your neighbor as yourself today.
And the fog clears a bit as I can see a bit more within the tension in front of me. It’s a place that still hold uncertainty within the fog, yes, but it’s certainly a good place to start. It’s not a place of pie-in-the-sky naïvity or nothing-ever-changes cynicism. It’s a hopeful place smack-dab within the tension where the Light warms and softens.
And may those who need this Light find it so enticing that it’s impossible to ignore.