Who do you see every single day?
Who do you pass as you drive, cycle, or walk to work?
Who goes to the convenience store in your town?
Who do you see at church or on the way in to church?
Who do you see as you drop your kids off at school?
Those are people that you and I can reach out and touch.
We live in a broken world. We can't overstate it. It's absolutely wrecked. It's been wrecked since the first days - ever since we realized we could be jealous, ever since we realized we enjoyed being right or first or winners.
But we live in the garden. Here we sit, choosing to usher in recreation every day or to help with the deconstruction of the things so many of us say that we value.
God, who created heaven and earth, please give us back our child-likeness. Please give us new eyes. Our eyes are tired. We have forgotten how to see you. We have lost our sense of peace. We have lost our temperance and our understanding of good-will. We have fists full of rocks. We have ears stopped-up and sights set narrow. We are lost.
But you are a Good God. You are All Good. You have created All that is Good. Thank you. Thank you for being that one Good, Steady, Perfect Thing.
What will we do, friends?
How will we change things for the better?
I live in Tennessee. Miles and miles from Ferguson. Tears stream down my face - not because I want to argue one thing or another - no . . . my eyes pour the tears because we are broken. We don't know anymore how to be peaceful.
"Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer."
How many times will I watch the news and do this? Sit here in the living room, tears flowing, not knowing why this is almost always our chosen path?
I see it in a microcosm - in the work place, in traffic . . . people who are good on the inside forgetting their goodness because we have learned greed, we have learned "being a winner," we have learned "being right."
"To turn, turn will be our delight . . . for by turning, turning we come 'round right."
I will turn my cheek for you. If you are someone I see in traffic or at the store, at work or in the neighborhood? I will try so hard to always choose to turn my cheek. I will mess up. But I will try. Will you? Can we? So that nobody is raising their fist? Or their words to cut somebody down?
This is even more important now - I want better for my children. For this child. I want better. I want this child to look at the world with eyes less clouded than mine. And I want this child to know how to practice peace better than I do.
We don't want a world of tear gas and smashing windows. We don't want a world of theft. We don't want a world of constant defensiveness - we don't want this to be our verbal, mental, and physical position every day. That's not what we want, is it?
Tonight is just a praying night. Pray for the people who are so, so hurt by this decision. Pray for the people who are confused by it. Pray for the people who will dance over it - pray that they have temperance in their hearts about how they express all of this. Pray for the people who are angry tonight - pray for them tomorrow, too. Pray that they stay safe and that they don't endanger themselves or other people. Pray for peace. Pray hard. Pray with everything you've got.
Tomorrow is a living day. Tomorrow is a morning of looking every single different person in the eye and giving them the best I know how to give. Those are the people I can reach out and touch. Let me do good and not harm. Let me be useful and not destructive. Let me teach a child what is better than "being winner" or "being right" or "getting what I want." Let tomorrow be a little bit better than today.
Peace. Be. With. You. Whoever you are - peace be with you.