Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pray the News - Then Be the Good News

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 
- A time to be born and a time to die
- A time to plant and a time to uproot, 
- A time to kill and a time to heal, 
- A time to tear down and a time to build, 
- A time to weep and a time to laugh, 
- A time to mourn and a time to dance, 
- A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
-A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
- A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 

- A time to tear and a time to mend, 
- A time to be silent and a time to speak, 
- A time to love and a time to hate, 
- A time for war and a time for peace. 
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

March 1, 2011. I know it sounds cliche, but I really can't believe we're already this far into 2011. I checked my stats and this will be my 53rd entry of the year; that's 37 posts right here, and then 15 more on my "Preacher's Husband" page.

The big noise in today's paper is still the unrest in North Africa. Followed - here in Tampa - by today's mayoral elections and then Spring Training at the Rays baseball camp.

Rebekah and I always read the newspaper with our coffee first thing in the morning. I get up, put the coffee on, walk Scout a couple of miles, then wake Rebekah with a fresh mug. I read her the advice column if it's tolerable (and that's infrequent of late), then we read the comics together before splitting up the paper into various sections.

Catching up on the news certainly puts the coming day into perceptive. Sometimes I wonder why we put ourselves through such a dismal litany of sad tidings, criminal behavior, self-serving political mumbo-jumbo, celebrity shenanigans, institutional corruption and international chaos...

... Charlie Sheen alone should be good enough reason to stop our subscription to the Tampa Tribune, block my Google News Feed, and confine my morning thoughts to the people I know and love (and talked about at length in yesterday's Preacher's Husband blog).

But, like it or not, we do not live in a vacuum. In fact, we were specifically designed to live in community. Not only a community of nurturing, supportive, like-minded friends and family, but the community of the world. Bottom line, life is not exclusively about us. Life is about being the presence of Christ both for and in this world - and that's a pretty big reach.

So what to do about all the bad news? Well, to my way of thinking it can be an opportunity. Ignorance may be bliss according to the aphorism, but ignorance is not the way to live if we a pursing a life of meaningful faith.

I'd recommend picking a couple of situations from each section of the daily news and then praying, deliberately and specifically. Prayer is a powerful force for positive change.
  • Sometimes God effects change simply via what happens in our hearts and minds as a result of being on our knees. 
  • Sometimes God asks us to act. 
  • Very often we have no idea of our prayer's effect other than the awesome power released into our own lives because we launched this day in the presence of the divine.
The world is not this way by chance. This world is broken, self-serving, confused, and defined by greed. People are anxious, belligerent, violent and afraid because they are in desperate need. The only solution is to embrace the self-giving love that Jesus demonstrated, and that Christ offers each one of us if only we chose to follow The Way.

Don't confuse this with the restrictive and controlling structures of narrowly defined religion. I'm talking about a relationship with the Living God, explored in the context of a Christ-centered community.

Read the paper. Scan your preferred Internet News site. Then pray that God will transform your life in the service of LOVE.

- DEREK

1 comment:

Ray said...

Great post...but I think you meant...Charlie Sheen. :-)