(Matthew 18:15, 18, 20 The Message)
As those of us who try to live faithfully the way of life Jesus shows us know, not everything in our lives goes smoothly or is easy. There are occasions when those of us who call Jesus Lord do not agree about what the teachings of Jesus mean or how to live our lives faithfully for him. Jesus says that for the sake of the community we need to settle our disagreements.
Yet there is one overriding message here, as I understand it. God says to all of us, “I’m with you as you do the (sometimes) difficult work of resolving your differences!” “Trust me, I’ve got this!”
That’s why even in times when (two or three of us?) sit/stand around glaring at each other, or not able to look each other in the eye, or ready to turn our backs and walk away, God’s Spirit is there among us finding a way to work it out!
For me, this is one helpful way to look at living through this pandemic in these days. There are so many hard things in our lives right now. And in our greater society there is so much disagreement about so many things—including how to survive COVID-19.
As persons and in our families, we struggle with remembering our masks, washing our hands, coughing or sneezing in ways as not to make others more anxious. Do we go to the grocery store or have home delivery? When will it be safe for our kids to go back to school? Whoever said I would have to be a homeschool parent-teacher (recognizing that some parents choose to be)? Is this sickness I’m feeling really the virus? Should I go and get a test? We grieve for family and friends who are/have been very ill with the virus and for those who have died.
As a country and world, we have lived with this long enough so that we know many of the issues that divide us like not having enough tests that give speedy results, keeping our health care workers and all others who serve us in our basic needs healthy and safe, getting treatments and vaccines that will make this virus go away, how businesses and place of entertainment can open safely, how to take care of those who are out of work…and the list goes on. Then there are the protests and demonstrations that have now been happening for months as the result of police shootings of black men and women. And the hurricanes and forest fires… These are hard, hard times.
Yet, in the midst of all of this, the voice of Jesus calls us to come together and listen to each other and respect each other as the unique creations God made each and all of us to be. Jesus says, “You can work it out and I’ll be there right beside you in your midst as you do—two or three or whatever number of you—as you do the hard work of finding common ground.”
In these occasions, it is life-giving to hear these words, “Trust me, I’ve got this!” God says.
Before this day is over, as you look in the mirror at the person who stands there, take time to repeat as many times as you need to hear it, “I love you! Trust me, I’ve got this!”—God!
Let us pray...
Gracious God who has whatever we need: Be with us in all of the hard things we face every day. Help us to work through the difficult times in our relationships with others. Keep us safe and show us that we are loved! Show us ways to share with others the goodness you have created in each of us. Amen.