The song on the radio was an old sixties hit, “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. Stephen Stills wrote it as part of a youth protest of anti-loitering laws in California, but today, those same words could easily apply to many of today’s problems.
Two churches once separated by denomination and race learned to work together and discovered the real meaning of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Today, as our country seems more divided than ever, this story reminds me of God’s desire for us to truly love our neighbor.
If our traditions hold us back from fulfilling our ultimate mission, then we need to take a serious look at ourselves and consider what it means to change. If we spend more time preserving what we have and less time looking for ways to serve, we are riding a dead horse. As much as I respect and love our church, my primary mission is to serve Jesus Christ.
We all occasionally suffer. Some hurt more than others but all of us experience pain in different ways at different times. We also helplessly witness others suffering. At some point you will want to ask: Why? Why am I or why are they going through this? Where is God when we suffer?
When we pray and God seems quiet, we continue to pray and trust that God always listens. One pastor wrote: “We sometimes look to God to answer our prayers as if He were the waiter who takes our order and swiftly returns with steaming plates of what we ask for. That is not God’s way. He hears our prayers and responds but in God’s way, in God’s time. Can we trust and accept?”
Recently, I was standing in front of Costco waiting for the store to open. The man behind me was wearing a mask. I asked him if masks were required. “Big mistake.” He immediately started shouting theories as to why he would never take a vaccine and that progressed to a long litany of complaints about the election and current politicians and then he talked about an airliner that crashed near New York but was really shot down by a Chinese missile.
Every time you pray. Every time you do something or say something in the name of Christ for someone else. Every time you choose to show love in the face of evil and despair, you strengthen the forces of good against the forces of evil.
Obviously, something happened to change my life significantly but for a while, I was among the many raised in church, exposed to the teachings of Jesus but chose to stay away. “I believed in God but didn’t feel any need to be in church.”