This has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in the United States. Thankfully, I don’t have television so I don’t hear the shameful, ignorant rants, but it is difficult to miss them in the online news headlines.
Racism is alive and well. If there was ever any doubt, it was revived with the outpouring of tactless racist remarks about a Miss America contestant winner. That these remarks are made in the 21st century is appalling! We are nation built on the breadth and depth of immigrants and their cultures and yet we cannot celebrate or even be gracious about one woman’s achievement.
Mass shootings (yes, plural) are another daily occurrence. Ho hum. The Washington Navy Yard shooting claimed twelve lives. The Chicago park shooting claimed three lives and twenty-three were wounded. Those were the mass shootings. Then there were the usual daily shootings – murder-suicides, homicides, accidents, suicides, drive-bys – that happen daily, devastating the lives of families and communities. And we go on, impervious to gun violence.
The growing disconnect between those in power and the rest of us. We learned this week that three percent of the population are millionaires and more than sixty percent of Congress are millionaires (aka Hillionaires). Most in Congress have no idea about the financial insecurity that is now the new norm for most Americans. They demonstrated the fullness of their disconnect when they slashed SNAP from the budget and passed a budget after removing funds for the Affordable Care Act (for the 41st time!) without even having the facts or talking seriously with their constituents who are the working poor and uninsured. I guarantee if they spent even one day in the life of one of their constituents, their eyes would be open to reality for most people.
I think God must grieve when God sees the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way we treat one another and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way our elected officials treat those whom they have been elected to serve. Scripture is full of passages that provide guidance, but one passage has been on my heart all week:
Do not plan harm against your neighbor
who lives trustingly beside you.
Do not quarrel with anyone without cause,
when no harm has been done to you.
Do not envy the violent
and do not choose any of their ways. ~ Proverbs 3:29-21
or the same passage from a contemporary version, The Voice:
Make no plans that could result in injury to your neighbor;
after all, he should be more secure because he lives near you.
Avoid fighting with anyone without good reason,
especially when no one has hurt you;
you have nothing to fight about.
Do not envy someone who profits at the expense of others
or copy any of his tyrannical ways.
I know it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week and most of us are worn down trying to put food on our tables, pay our bills, find gainful employment, deal with grief and heartache, and everything else required to live life this side of eternity. May we be faithful and hopeful as we pray:
Source and goal of community, whose will it is that all your people enjoy fullness of life: may we be builders of community, caring for your good earth here and worldwide and as partners with the poor, signs of your ever friendly love; that we may delight in diversity and choose solidarity for you are in community with us our God forever. Amen. ~ Unknown