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May 18, 2020

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Darshana Kumara Wijenarayana and his bride Pawani Rasanga walk with packets of food to distribute in the small town of Malimbada, about 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of the capital, Colombo.
An engaged couple in Sri Lanka whose wedding party was affected by the pandemic decided to cancel their plans and feed the poor in their community. - via the Associated Press
"All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him." - 1 John 3:15-19
Good news is hard to come by, especially during these days and times. Point of fact, I had to intentionally look for less terrible news when I came across today’s top story. 

If the truth be told, the life of a Christian, if modeled like Jesus, is one that sees and feels the pain of the world similarly to how God sees and feels. It means working with fellow followers of Jesus in a grace-sustained path toward ushering God’s rule on a planet that is far from perfect, all while recognizing that one’s finitude limits the change desired from becoming the ideal imagined. It’s deeply discouraging, to say the least. 

Continue anyway.  

The church was born and developed during a hopeless period of time under Roman occupation, mysterious plagues, and persecution from Roman and religious authorities. Today, we face what sometimes feel like insurmountable challenges. Perhaps they are. But Jesus doesn’t call us to solve every national and global problem in existence; he merely calls us to follow him. 

What following him looks like is dependent on where the Spirit leads you vocationally and personally. It could mean solving climate change if you’re a climatologist or reforming the criminal justice system if you’re a lawyer and/or an activist, but the path of Jesus first begins with a single step. And like the couple from Sri Lanka, that step might include changing personal plans and seeing unexpected results.
Find ways to love well:
  • Donate money to a reputable charity whose mission you believe in.
  • Talk with neighbors you may not know well from a six-foot distance while wearing a mask to help combat the loneliness that is exacerbated due to this pandemic.
  • Pray for those who are refusing and protesting the stay-at-home orders, because economic hardship is also driving many to these protests along with fear, misinformation, and a conspiratorial mindset.
  • And love yourself, for God has loved you from the beginning.

We look to your Kingdom come;
yet on earth, it is certainly not the same as it is in heaven.
We recognize this and hope that you lead us toward that first step.
Show us where love can make a difference, and let us make that difference.
Even if it might mean that we cancel our weddings, our graduations, our parties, and our festivals. Even if it means that plans are further deferred.

Continue to help us to overcome this crisis.
We pray for all those affected:
Afflicted loved ones, essential workers, and communities that are feeling the brunt of this virus while being dismissed. 

Give us the strength, courage, and wisdom to fight what is worth fighting, and to rest when the weariness overwhelms. 

We ask this in Your holy name. 
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