Posted by: Renee | October 22, 2011

Are we the ones?

by Renee Sappington

“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” That’s a question John the Baptist had his disciples ask Jesus. I believe it’s a question that we too are being asked.

In a world terrorized by hate and violence, are we the ones who will absorb the pain and stop feeding the destructive cycle of domination? In a world plagued with prejudice, are we the ones who will give up our narrow-mindedness to make room for all? In a world where many starve while a few feast, are we the ones who will redistribute the blessings of this earth for all to partake?

I think it’s easy for us to become paralyzed by such overwhelming global needs, so let’s break it down for ourselves. In a world where impatient, irritable customers take their frustrations out on underpaid sales clerks and cashiers, are we the ones who will offer a smile and ask about their day instead? In a world where many people with HIV/AIDS are isolated and lonely, are we the ones who will build relationships with the residents at Grace House in Jackson? In a world where we avoid looking at the homeless and needy, are we the ones who will look these people in the eyes and speak kindly to them? In a world where some churches turn away those they judge to be willful sinners, will we remind our fellow church-goers that God alone is Judge and that our job is to love? In a world where the minimum wage is not a living wage, are we the ones who will help build a Habitat house? In a world where some Christians would hinder religious minorities from opportunities to worship, are we the ones who will welcome the local mosque and wish our Jewish co-workers “Happy Hanukkah” instead of a “Merry Christmas”? In a world where government and politics maintain the status quo, are we the ones who will participate in protests, sign petitions, and vote our conscience? In a world where the mentally ill are at the bottom of the totem pole in healthcare, are we the ones who will be their voice and demand better conditions for their lives? In a world where those who hurt us or ones we love are deemed unworthy of redemption, are we the ones who will forgive?

Of course, the list goes on and never stops as long as we’re living in an imperfect world. But let me say to you and to myself that the list is not your job or my job alone. We are not called to do or give more than we are able. For the list is not meant to be a life-sucking burden but a life-giving opportunity; and when I fail to see that, it’s time for me to stop and ask for guidance, to honor what my body or soul is telling me. We are indeed the ones some are waiting for, yet we ourselves are also waiting – waiting for one who will offer us hope and encouragement through a smile, a touch, a conversation, or an example. May we each be the one we are called to be, and may we humbly accept our own needs.  Gracious God, please help me know when to be your loving hands in this world and when to rest in your hands.


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