Still Hopeful

November 24, 2021

At least the roads and bridges are going to get fixed. Living in pot hole world and hoping for something in government to work is getting more and more challenging, even for the optimistic; even for the faithful who know the end of this story. The middle part, the right now, in real time, news is discouraging and the factions that divide us are growing deeper and wider. How long, O Lord? 

Nations rise and nations fall. To be living in a time when the reality of that fall creeping closer and closer is shocking. My 75 years of life have seen erosion of trust in systems – church, government, healthcare. People with education are called “elites” and the push to shred norms is scary. I find myself in the strangest place where I want to scream and to pray at the same time. Never have I felt so helpless to make a difference in the trajectory of most everything. 

“They’re rioting in Africa; they’re starving in Spain… and I don’t like anybody very much.” This is a line from a 1960s song by The Kingston Trio, the Merry Minuet. The song spoke into the angst of the 60s with “Unhappy Souls” and fear of nuclear disaster. I was in high school in the 1960s Never did I think the angst would still be festering in 2021. Where is Camelot? Oh, yes. Dead on a grassy knoll in Dallas. 

The vision of a shining city on a hill, the promise to build back better turn to dust in the reality that people are angry, frustrated, sick and tired of the ways of those in the world who only want power and wealth and influence while the world drowns in ocean rise and disease, and poverty, rage, and violence. Roads and bridges are the least of our worries.

We are walking away from our values and our faith; walking away from our public education systems; walking away from democracy, walking away from each other and our shared humanity. In doing such, we are headed to be a footnote country in world history. We could only maintain ourselves for 400 years. Geez! Rome, Greece, and China win on that one. Who is going to say ENOUGH!!!

We have got to learn to listen more than we talk and to be able to hear differing voices without calling people our enemies. Our only enemy is the self that seeks its own way. There is much imperfect in the world; it’s called the way things are. We are broken people some of whom have too much of everything and still want more. We have too much access to tools of violence. And too little access to mental health resources. Guns need to be better tracked. I want to know my odds in a world where everybody I meet might be packing a weapon. And I need to be always prepared to face that possibility. And we need finally to face the systemic racism that is this country’s original sin. God help us! Deny all you want to; just look at the record of Black history in this country. 

I am still hopeful, however, that prayer has efficacy, and that God is still at work in the world. She must be very tired of us by now. When all we can do is pray, when prayer is the least and the most, that hearts will be awakened to the fragility of this world and this life that is ours, when people in power awaken to the responsibility of their privilege, perhaps directions will change, and the world will be righted. “There’s hurricanes in Florida and Texas needs rain. The whole world is festering with unhappy souls…” Hate cannot win.

Lord God, pour down your Spirit upon us that we may rise up to a new cause, the cause of righteousness, the cause of stewardship of all creation, to justice, to love and forgiveness. Change us that we may change the world for good. Amen. 

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