by Sister Annette Koss
Matthew has Jesus saying, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Each morning, as I pray with my Community, we break open a scripture and share how it connects with life. Each evening, we do a spiritual reading and connect it with an event. There are so many events in so many places all the time -- immigration, starvation, human trafficking, global warming, homelessness -- what can we possibly do?
We have heard the serenity prayer, and might even have it memorized: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” We are in the space where we can feel and be as it is.
Gracious God, let us come together and pray as one.
Let us trust in you for everything we can and cannot do.
Make us watchers in love over our sisters and brothers.
Let us help them lay their hands on what is justly theirs:
food, shelter, freedom, schooling and human rights.
We trust you are with us when it is easy, and when it is trying.
Give us a hand when love makes demands.
I think the title alone for this meditation is worth all of it: "We aren't tasked with solving the world's problems; we are invited to be guided by Christ." That thought is hard to improve on.
Let's hear this passage, from within the entire context of what JESUS was teaching. Expand the passage to start earlier, and go farther: Matthew 18:12-35. This begins us with the 'one lost sheep.' And takes us to 'being able to forgive from our hearts.' This is HARD WORK! Let's not gloss over the reality that Our Heavenly Father CARES FOR each and all, as our Heavenly Father KNOWS EACH and ALL, and therefore KNOWS THE NEEDS OF EACH and ALL. However, we -- individually -- and collectively as a religion/church, community, school, political or government body, any institution or social or economic or financial organization -- commits "sin" by excluding, negating, demeaning, degrading, exploiting, abusing, violating, harming another or groups of others, JESUS tells us to 'bring it forward; don't hide it; expose it for what it is." This entire process REQUIRES and DEMANDS constant prayer and vigilance in BEING OPEN TO THE WORK OF SPIRIT/GRACE, as it involves: CONFRONTING,- and then - OFFERING / EXTENDING the means, resources, opportunities for CONVERSION / TRANSFORMATION / MATURITY through a ForgivEN and ForgivING Heart. Until we, ourselves, know what it means to 'be forgiven' of all of our own sins, we cannot know how to facilitate this kind of NEEDED HEALING for others - including institutions that NEED TRANSFORMATION. CONFRONTATION, along with THE HEALING PROCESS are what is NEEDED FOR EVERYONE, no exceptions!