I was feeling pensive, quiet, and sad when I went to church this morning. Maybe it was the past week: the opening of lobster season (which always makes me emotional). Or solemness of Remembrance Day. Or finally being able to take a breath after the last few months. I think it was a bit of all of those things against the backdrop of what is going on the United States: the sadness of the inevitability of protests and divisiveness and the realization that no matter who won the election there were never going to be any winners.
I had also just watched the video of the opening of Saturday Night Live from last night. It was a powerful tribute to Leonard Cohen and Hillary Clinton, particularly the third verse and Kate McKinnon’s watery eyes.
All that to say, I zoned out for a bit during church this morning (sorry Karl!)*. We had just read Romans 12:1, and I continued reading on. Romans 12:3-21 hit me as a being so relevant to today.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I think many people have been quietly reflecting on what the election meant and will mean to the United States going forward. It also reminds me of many posts and messages I have seen about how people in the United States are choosing to respond: by doing what they can to be kind because ultimately, that’s all that’s in our power: how we respond to any situation.
*PS – the sermon was about our journey into powerlessness and that God will provide what we need. I did tune back in. 🙂