Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus said to his disciples, “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
It is a time of great joy and sadness my Lord. Being in the world I hear all the unrest of your people. So many have experienced great injustices. I do not know their stories personally; I hear bits and pieces and talk to others in these little soundbites. Am I being cowardly, hiding my head in the sand, turning a blind eye to the injuries created in racism and bigotry? Yesterday you heard in my conversation someone with a very angry voice and definite view of feeling violated. Their compassion was strongly stated, not only for people who we share the world with today, but also for all those in the very distant past, in many places and times through the centuries. What hurts me greatly Lord is that in this compassion they could only could see how violence was the answer to draw attention and change the future.
Father I asked them how they thought you felt. The answer was sad, but I could tell they were unwilling to go any further. Clearly it was a “people” issue and you weren’t part of the discussion. I wanted to cry for the lack of understanding that it is all about you, that evil forces want it to be about people. Evil wants division, it wants me to not be tolerant or understanding. My lack of being able to speak to this shamed me, yet I know it is not my fight. I received their attack on my views; I prayed for the right response and held my tongue. I then asked for respect instead of condemnation. A showing of peace ended our conversation. But it has left an injury in my heart, for I love this person. I fear for their life as they choose to hear the world at a high volume. It is not clear to me they are seeking you for answers. They see the spec in their neighbor as a log or logs even, yet our own eyes are bulging with one too. Frustration, intolerance, impatience and lack of trust in you is evident in this world.
It is not the problem we cannot see, it is the solution. You are the solution, loving you as I love my neighbor. Every injustice to my neighbor, going back to Cain and Able, hurts you. You have seen every single one of them, you read every heart as you know every hair on every head in this whole world, in all time, past, present and future. We think so small and you bear the thinking of such a greatness, it is unfathomable to consider. How is it you have not done away with this generation, or past generations for all the injustices we have inflicted upon each other? We are such a sick world, so in need of your cleansing grace to wipe out evil and create us anew in you.
This “great pause” we are in, afraid to wander too far, afraid of who we speak with or what we touch, seems to have physically changed our patterns of protection over our bodies. But now we are in anther “extended pause” of civil unrest, questioning the motives of every individual, past present and future. No one can be taken by their word or are to be trusted. It appears we have moved the mask from our mouth and nose to our whole body in a way; creating with this “masking” a panic of unknowing the love, trust and compassion of neighbor. I ponder in wondering if many have forgotten how this is to reflect love for you and in turn, love for neighbor and self, to the degree of what our words and actions convey.
As I finish this time with you this morning; a sense of calmness comes over me. I know a solution – at least for me – and I pray others would choose it too. It is to stay with you, keeping our eyes on you, my beloved. You will bring everlasting peace. The beautiful artist Simonetta (https://youtu.be/I4GfqQbi9T) sings this song to receptive hearts, and I am found rocking me in your arms, laying at your feet, remaining in you as I get up and about in my day. You are my treasure, in my heart loudly and strongly. I place my trust in you Father. Help me to always work on the logs in my eyes as I love my neighbor, as I love you.