So the weather has taken a turn again, and it seems the weather, like the state of our country and culture, is finding it hard to settle in one place. As a human living in the US in 2017, it seems that it is not change into one way of being that we must become accustomed to, but rather it is change itself that seems to be our new normal. And amidst all the uncertainty, there is enough loud talking and insecurity and anger to bring us all down. Every day there is a new crisis on the news, a new position held up, a new offense taken. And many times I have wondered what the role of the church is to be in times like these.
The story in our Gospel last week of the healing of the man born blind came at a time for me that was laced with these thoughts. Reading through it again, this time I was more aware of the insecurity in the hearts of the people in this story. I saw those who were threatened by the miracle of sight given to a man who was in need, who had been among them for quite some time. I saw those who were just unable to support this miraculous act of kindness that was demonstrated by Jesus to this man.
It’s humbling. I don’t think we have changed much since then. We almost seem bent as a people to attack and to accuse, rather than love.
For over a year now, when I’ve prayed for our community, I’ve always been drawn back to one simple prayer: “Lord, help us to be kind.” Kind to ourselves… when we are prone to deny and fight against the work that God is doing in our hearts. Kind to each other… welcoming and supporting every act of healing in those around us. Kind to those outside of our community… believing the very best for them and seeking to serve Christ in every person.
So my prayer for Bloom has been that kindness would reign. I don’t know much about tactics that we can employ to be a better church in our times. Many times I don’t know much about anything, really. But I do know that there’s something about what the Spirit has done among us — something about where God has led us — that has made Bloom a people that continues to seek the face of the healer, who simply enjoys just being around Jesus. We have been made a people who, when invited into the story of the healed and made-new in Christ, have set down all threatenedness within us and any need to be ‘right’, and we have invited all who are on the journey with Jesus to find a home among us. Because the story of healing belongs to us all.
I really do see something in our community that’s so rare. And I feel sort of funny when I go on about it because I feel like I’m not really that nice of a person most of the time. But I still see this in us. This wanting to get behind every work of Jesus in each other’s lives, to make a place where every person that has found healing in Christ is believed in and supported and welcomed.
And that’s it. That’s all I know for now. So may kindness continue to find expression in everything we do, for the glory of Jesus Christ, the healer of us all.