Like many of you, I receive daily devotional material in my email. One of the ones I subscribe to is from the publishing house Plough. They send emails with a scripture reading and a prayer and another with a daily inspirational quote from diverse Christians throughout the centuries. This weekend, they offered a quote from Oscar Romero, a Catholic Priest and Archbishop who worked in El Salvador before his assassination in 1980. He worked to help those in poverty and spoke out against the injustices of his country. He also encouraged Christians to work towards holiness and their spiritual life. Below is the quote, which I found to be timely for the church today,
I ask all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to view these things that are happening in our historical moment with a spirit of hope, generosity, and sacrifice. And let us do what we can. We can all do something and be more understanding. If we illuminate with Christian hope our intense longings for justice and peace and all that is good, then we can be sure that no one dies forever. If we have imbued our work with a sense of great faith, love of God, and hope for humanity, then all our endeavors will lead to the splendid crown that is the sure reward for the work of sowing truth, justice, love, and goodness on earth. Our work does not remain here; it is gathered and purified by the Spirit of God and returned to us as a reward.
In our world today with ongoing protests for racial justice, with a pandemic that is used as a political volleyball, we have to remember to ground ourselves in God’s love and to use that love as our lens for the world. It is our foundation and with God’s help can be our default response. I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages, Philippians 2:1-11,
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Our standard is Jesus; in these difficult times, we can’t lose sight of that. Over this next week, I want to invite us all to think about an issue or situation that is troubling us. As we meditate on that, how can we follow the example of Jesus in our response to that situation? How can we build up others? Then, as the Holy Spirit leads us, let’s do the good work God is calling us to do.