One day, this will all be over. The majority of people will have received the vaccine, and we will again be free to sit close to each other, to take our masks off, and to shelve the term “socially distance.” I’m not sure when yet, but it will happen. One day.
One day, this will all be over. Overt and systemic racism will become a thing of the past. The vision set out by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., where people are judged by the ‘content of their character instead of the color of their skin’ will become a reality. One day we will be a just and equitable society for all of God’s people. It will take work on our part, and it will take time. But I have complete confidence that this will happen. One day.
One day, this will all be over. The political angst that we are all living through will come to an end. I am confident that we will again have stable government that is working for the welfare of all of its citizens. This is not a partisan statement, but rather a statement of culture. At some point, government will decide to work through party differences to move us forward as a nation. It will happen. One day.
I am choosing to take the long-view. This is not natural for me. I am by nature an impatient person.
- I want to be past the pandemic. Now.
- I want equity, justice and peace. Now.
- I want government to put aside partisan difference to work together. Now.
But, I also know that this isn’t likely. The work required for these things to happen is not complete yet. So for me, right now, there are things that I can do:
First, I can continue. I can work towards health and wholeness for all people. I can wear my mask, wash my hands, keep my distance and remain conscious and aware of the health and wellness of people around me. I fully admit that I don’t like masks or social distance; but right now it is still the best way to show love towards my neighbor.
I can increase my work towards equity, justice and peace. I need to listen to the stories of the people in my community who come from a different background, or religion, or who have a different skin color. I can learn about their experiences, and I can speak out for them and do the work that needs to be done to change their experiences. I can refuse to tolerate injustice today, and tomorrow and the next, so that over time, real cultural change takes place.
I can advocate for a political system that puts people before party. And we can hold our elected officials accountable to their commitment to serve the people. I can write my letters, I can make my calls and I can vote.
What do these things have to do with my faith? Why am I sharing them here?
They have everything to do with my faith.
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. – Romas 5:1-5
My faith calls me to take the long view. While I need to double-down on my work to help make these changes happen, I also need to realize that change that “sticks” is also change that happens over time. From a ‘big picture’ perspective, health and wellness, justice, and fair political systems are things that have been in process for decades…and probably even longer. When we face these moments of crisis, my tendency is to become frustrated, and maybe even to give up.
We cannot give up. Life can feel like a “two steps forward, one step back” process. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean that we quit or surrender to those forces in the world that prefer chaos and injustice. We stick with it. We work towards one solution, and then the next, and then the next.
“Faith, hope and love,” Jesus says. “And the greatest of these is love.” I place my faith in God. I put my hope in people, and I do this because it is what shows the greatest love towards God, and towards each other.
The changes we need will happen. I believe in the work of God’s people in the world, and I believe that God is with us in the midst of it. We follow God’s call. And the vision God has for creation will become even more of a reality, right here.
One day. One day soon.