Good morning! We made it to Friday! Hooray!
LUKE 18:1-8 (NRSV)
1Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'” 6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
I love my job. I didn’t think I would at first. It is an interesting job. I get suuuuppper nervous before I preach each week and thought that would be the ticket that made me look for other work. And at first, it was difficult to get used to the fact that everyone has an opinion. Then there are definitely days where it feels like I am getting caught in the little details that don’t matter when really I want to matter…who doesn’t?
But then there are days when I remember why I love my job. Sometimes these days include extraordinary things like holding a newborn and blessing her. Or it might be having a deep conversation with something about what God looks like or what the afterlife my look like. Those days are million dollar days. Then there are other days that I love that don’t have anything extraordinary in them but they include me being with people in the day to day. Those days are why I do my job. These are the days when I am invited into people’s lives and I get to just be with people. Those are they days that at the end of the day, I feel so blessed.
Yesterday was a good day because I felt as though I was doing things that will make a difference later. Lauri, our director of development, and I were asked to join the downtown association board meeting to tell them what we were doing for our homeless folks in the community. We had great conversation with the board about what can be done and what should be done. I was so touched that we were invited into the conversation. It was early and it was a meeting but it felt right. We then met up with our office manager and were trained from 8:30am until 4:30pm in Mental Health First Aid. While it was a little tedious to be in a room alllll daaay long and learn some basics, it also opened up great conversations, connected us with others who care about mental health in the community, allowed the three of us to work together, and I felt equipped by the end of the day.
Even though I love my job, there are also days when I think, “Why?” Why put in the effort? Why work my tail off? Why continuously work uphill?
Because it is hard to be a church person in our world. We struggle to be relevant. I struggle to make meaning. The overall church has some major issues in my opinion. And sometimes I feel as though I might just be on a sinking ship. There are days when I ask myself if I have become an irrelevant creature in a world obsessed with the next new shiny thing or the next new trend.
It is hard to be open to God when God doesn’t have immediate answers. We want the perfect plan now.
SO at this point we have some choices and both take a little persistence. Our choice is to look at how we persist and what perspective we will take to get there.
Will it be the flower that blooms out of concrete or will it be the tedious toil? And it could be a mix of both as life is….as our search for meaning is….as it is to be in this world.
The widow decided to persist even when it looked as though the ship had passed, she had become irrelevant to the judge and it was tedious. She had decided to still come back because for some reason it was worth it. Her life was on the line and it wasn’t going to be thrown aside. My guess is that in her persistence she had to remember why she loved the outcome. My guess is that she could have easily given up the hike and forgotten about the flower…just focusing in on the trudge of it all. But she didn’t and she was rewarded in the end.
On days when I get sucked into the mindset of the Church going down in the world, I have to remember the million dollar days to keep on keeping on.
This stuff isn’t easy. It takes persistence to exist in a world that is constantly trying to absorb you into something else. There are many judges in the world that are opposed to giving out justice and well being. Our parable cheers us on in the struggle of daily life.
Where will you persist? Where do you need to persist? What can your community do to encourage the bloom?