Please take a few minutes to read this sermon from Nadia Bolz Weber, called “Why it is the Parable of the Merciful Samaritan and Not the Parable of the Robbers.” (Link here.)
So. Much. Yes.
It is a perfect commentary on the state of our world, the deafening barrage of violence and hate within our news, and the silent stories of goodness that matter the most.
“Evil might have the news cycle. But it does not have the victory. The darkness does not get to have our hearts, it does not get to fill our minds, it does not get to steal our joy. And looking for the love, the light, the kindness in the world around us is not the same as pretending that evil isn’t evil.”
“So by all means let us name evil for what it is, let’s root out the sin and racism within us, let us fight for justice, but then let us turn the cameras toward the light, lest we become so consumed by the effects of evil that we miss the chance to be kind to a stranger, and we miss the chance to stop and read to our kids and we miss the chance to notice how acts of beauty and kindness out number acts of evil by the thousands, because in so doing we hand evil a bigger victory than it earned when in fact it has already lost.”
Please, please do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. She goes on to list the good things that happen during the news cycle that can only manage to speak of evil. Babies are born. People love. Kindnesses are extended. Prayers are lifted. And more. I loved this so, so much.
Generally I’m not big on “cool” pastors who try too hard to meet me at my level and speak “my language.” It feels patronizing and annoying somehow. Sheep can’t effectively lead other sheep. I’m more comfortable being encouraged to reach higher ground by people wiser and, well, more holy, than me. But Nadia Bolz Weber… for whatever reason, I’m comfortable with her. She’s like the sheep who gained enough wisdom to be elevated to shepherd through lots of trial and error. She seems authentic — a slightly profane, reluctant, and relatable shepherd.
But in the spirit of her sermon, I stopped to think about the good things that have been going on while I’ve been consumed by the news.
- An itty bitty baby bunny has taken up residence in our back yard with the tiniest white blaze of fur between his eyes. The very markings of the pony that I always longed for as a kid growing up. (One of the finest examples I have of an unanswered prayer turning out to be a very good thing.)
- Christmas in July was gifted to me by my Mom, taking the form of a new Hello Kitty Keepsake ornament and toy. I love my enablers. And I will love our overloaded tree in a few months.
- Lots and lots of rain showers have kept our flowers and plants happy and healthy out front — and the sweet potato vines are threatening to take over our patio.
- Puffy clouds have just been begging to be interpreted and admired. (I see a face. And a cloud with a halo.)
- Most of all, I’ve had the love of friends. I’ve noticed something about my friends lately. They freely, openly, and unabashedly express and extend their love to others. A disproportionate number of my friends have this in common. They’re not just friendly or kind. They LOVE. It gives me so much hope for our future to overcome the awful, dominating noises of the hateful people in this world.