If you live in America, the temperature in the air is both fragile and hostile. Everywhere I go, I feel it. There is a low level anxiety about. Facebook seems to be the place where the common person is either a. avoiding anything controversial while continuing to post happy photos of family life and the item they are attempting to sell (which seems odd and ostrich-like) or b. taking a stand on the many issues at hand (which, good or bad, can make you see your “friends” in a whole new light) . The former motto “Never talk about politics” seems to have gone to the wayside as people are coming out “for” or “against” our recently named president and his policies.
My biggest concern is the division taking place. I am saddened by the hate that is seeping into everything. A little bit of news goes a long way these days. All I need to do is read the headlines and I’ve had enough of the negativity. So, how do we, a people of faith, retain hope in an atmosphere of chaos and hate? How do we carry on, shining our light, not oblivious to the things going on in our world… but, rather, in spite of the mayhem?
Over the weekend, my family watched the movie Evan Almighty. An older, but timely film, this story follows the main character, Evan Baxter (Steve Carroll), as he leaves his news anchor job for a position in Congress. He won the campaign with his promise to “Change the World,” and heads to D.C. full of gusto. Before long, he is overwhelmed by the heavy demands of work aside family life. That evening before bed, with hesitation, he kneels and prays to God to help him “change the world.”
The following morning he wakes to his alarm which reads: (Gen) 6:14. Not thinking much of it, he carries on with his day. Then, a large pile of lumber shows up at his house. Animals begin to follow him. He knows something is awry, but can’t figure it out. When God (Morgan Freeman) visits him, Evan sees the big picture. God directs him to build an ark. Evan is terrified and stunned! An ark in modern day upscale suburbia?! It’s crazy! Evan asks, “Why me? Why did you choose me?” God answers, “You want to change the world. So do I.” Evan protests, “But, an ark doesn’t really fit into my plans! And, I don’t even know how to begin!” In one of the finer lines of the film, God responds, “I hear that a lot. But, you want to know how to change the world? One Act of Random Kindness (ARK) at a time.”
Friends, how do we change the world? First, let us begin our days with God as the focus. Let us reflect on God’s mercy and compassion. Let us remember Jesus is a friend of sinners, there to meet us in our deepest hour of need. Let us sense the Spirit’s free flowing nature moving through the unexpected in our lives. What then, is our response to this gracious outpouring of love? It is for us to be Christ’s hope in the world! To spread kindness through word and action. Let us put aside our personal views and shift to the bigger picture of God’s kingdom! How do we help grow God’s kingdom? Not through negativity, but rather, by carrying on with simple acts of random kindness. Our ordinary love (daily prayer, holding doors for people, smiling at a stranger, picking up trash on the sidewalk) matters. Let us not underestimate how our output effects others. We are either sowing love or hate. Let us be sowers of love. Amen.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Take time to read John 16. This chapter is a good reminder of the chaos happening while Jesus walked the earth. Notice how Jesus’ words are filled with hope even in the midst of the unknown. He is a sower of love.
I highly recommend the movie Evan Almighty. It is filled with comedy and love. This movie is rated PG and is family friendly. You can find it here.