Rooted in Love - Reflections 6-21-17

 "So how was your week in the Southwest?", you might ask. 

 "Well, hot, but not as bad as this week. Loved the changing landscape as we moved from Vegas to the Grand Canyon to Phoenix to Tucson to the border." I could answer. But instead I share this from Psalm 82:3-4.

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. 

That feels like the ministry to which God called us (all 250) last week. 

To give justice, you need to become aware of, to understand the issues involved in people’s lives – homelessness, sex-trafficking, immigration, care of creation. Then you need to listen carefully to their stories. Listening to people, putting faces to an issue instead of facts, is how one comes to understanding. Then you share and build awareness among others…and understanding. And then you can start seeing ways to "give justice" – to maintain, rescue, and/or deliver. Easy,right?

As we moved from issue to issue, I felt overwhelmed pretty much each day as we heard about the immensity of each one. That was followed by the urgency to “do something” as I listened to the people who had experienced it.

Slowly, breaking through the despair and burning need to act, two realizations (or perhaps reminders) started to dawn as I moved through the week.

1) Listen to our theme verse from Ephesians - that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. Aarrgh! I have been a Lutheran my whole life. I aced my Lutheran heritage/doctrine classes at seminary. I have taught it to confirmands, children, and adults, and STILL I think I must go it alone. Seriously?? Listen to that scripture…. Look around the room. Does it really all depend on me?

2) Each of our presenters and our project partners address one small, specific part of the bigger picture. One person helps to identify bodies found in the desert; another offers water and meals to those who make it through. Not only am I not alone, I don’t/can’t fix the whole thing.

As I re-read those, I think I prefer the word “reminder”; I don’t know why all that felt like such a profound flash of insight. 

Actually, there is one more “reminder” that I actually remembered: To be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love, one needs to pay attention to the “inward journey” - prayer, reflection, and listening to God. The planners provided journals to guide us through that process each day, and nightly meetings with folks from your congregation. 

I am still pondering and sorting. It is a lifetime thing.

How about you? 
How do you navigate the pulls of compassion and service? 
Of discouragement and inertia?

Comments invited below.

Here is the refrain to our theme song that I can’t get out of my head.
We are rooted in your love, we will not be shaken. 
We are rooted in your truth, we will not be taken. 
Oh, how deep, how long, 
how wide, how strong are the roots of the love of God. 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245