The last 12 days have been a whirlwind in Minneapolis. The onset of covid-19 made life difficult for all people. We thought things were hard. Then the murder of George Floyd on Monday May 25th broke everything.
We are in a period of mourning as a nation. Let us join in the mourning. Mourning for the life of George Floyd. Mourning the atrocities that have been committed against people of color in the United States for over 400 years. Mourning over what is lost.
In it all, there is hope. Neighborhoods and communities have banded together in a beautiful way. Relationships have started that were not in place two weeks ago. Changes are possible. You might be asking, “what can I even do to help?” Our current reminder and the thing that keeps going over and over in my head right now is just to do something. Do anything.
It would be easy for this season of potential change to dissolve under our feet and for things to go back to “how they were.” As humans, we have the uncanny ability to forget certain things and to let history repeat itself. We are calling and encouraging you to do something, to do anything, to keep this from being another page repeated through history.
As we’re in this new series, we’re going to explore unknowns. Not knowing what to do. Having to do the impossible. Feeling like everything is against you. Feeling ill equipped for life. We’ll examine biblical narrative, not to get the right answers or find the easy solution to problems (spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist.) We really want to wrestle with seeing the character of God in the middle of the unknown.
During his ministry, Jesus continually pointed to the importance of who you are as opposed to just what you do. Internal vs. external. This is a season where we may be asking God, “What should I do?” and he’s answering with, “You can do what you want, I just care who you are when you do things.” Who you are. Character.
What has this season of global pandemic and local tragedy revealed about your character?
It might be easy to look at people and judge them on the character we think we see. We have to realize that we ought to be looking inward and judging our own character. When I make this about someone else, I’ve lost. When I compare myself to someone else, I’ve lost.
We would all probably agree that having “good character” is important. It’s so much easier to build other things instead. Talent. Charisma. Following. Character building is not sexy. It’s hard work. It’s repetitive.
Read Joseph’s story at the end of the book of Genesis.
What do you do when you feel like you don’t have options or don’t know what to do?
Joseph managed to see God as present through everything. Orchestrating things and “in charge.” Joseph’s trust was in God, not what he saw externally.
Micah, an old testament prophet, writes during a time when Israel was divided, distant from God, and lost and hopeless. He speaks of failings, of brokenness, of injustice, talking in a prophetic pattern of God’s judgement (captivity that is coming) followed by God’s hope (the restoration God will bring.)
He speaks of a new king, born in Bethlehem. He speaks of a people who will be what God promised Abraham - “a blessing to all people.”
In Micah 6, the “what should you do moment” comes up, and it is a completely internal focus that leads to external action.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Should I come and do a bunch of stuff? Try to make up for my issues?
No. God has shown me what is good. Today, God has shown us what is good and what we are to do. Today, if I’m in a moment of “what do I do?”, here’s my answer.
Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
Acting in a just, fair way toward every single person I meet, truly treating them as I have seen Jesus treat me. Not just showing mercy, but loving to show it. Giving others the same measure of mercy you have received from God. Walking in humility with God, declaring personal shortcoming and imperfection while depending on God’s completeness and perfection.
How are we to embody acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God?
In moments like this, when things are bad, difficult, impossible, what do you do?
I can only speak for myself here, but when I don’t know what to do I fall back on the only thing I know to work. Presence.
I believe there is a reason Jesus had 12 disciples, because the power of presence over time. He didn’t sell out stadiums or write books. He didn’t travel the world. I don’t think it was ever about him. He definitely didn’t pick the best and most affluent to be his followers to make himself look good.
He invested heavily into 12. He was present over time
He didn’t show up for a single protest and then go home and forget about it.
He picked 12, he gave himself to those 12.
They were imperfect, undeserving and continually failing.
Yet he stayed present over time with 12.
Change can only happen with presence over time.
Be present where you see injustice.
Be present where you see need.
Be present with your community.
What has to happen in you to be a person that can be present?
Take It Deeper Questions
Read Ephesians 6:10-23
If you were going into a “battle” today, would you tend to put on too much armor or not enough armor? Why?
What sets you up for success on a normal day? Sets you up for struggle or failure?
What sets you up for success in being Christlike? Sets you up for struggle or failure?
With Paul’s equipment list in view, where are you adequately prepared and where do you have gapes to address?
Bible Reading Plan