Life stops in the face of death. Our pilgrimage on earth takes a needed pause in the light of our mortality.
That’s why I’m increasingly frustrated when I hear of news of people picking fights which ultimately is not about what’s eternal but centered on one’s ego.
Worse is when this preoccupation of either a hurt or bruised ego really Edges God Out from God’s ministry.
At times and for a season, it’s painful to be in touch with greater intensity situations where religion is abused or misappropriated. It’s awful when pastors are the one’s being bullied by powerful people, it’s tragic when people under pastoral care is being whipped into insecure pastors. It’s painful because it turns into a “us” and “them” within a community where we promote “love” as the highest ideal.
Having said that, truth-telling must not be avoided as well. Discipline is not out of the door, and “love” is a mushy fuzzy feeling word. Nope, love is tough, Love honestly confronts the reality before us. The danger that lurks at the corner is when we are tempted to “demonize” the other, that’s the greatest temptation that we need to keep watch over. It’s a simple step into an abyss of self-righteous pre-judgment which won’t solve the problems at hand.
At the memorial tonight, it’s a time when everyone will pause and hopefully reconsider our priorities in life. Sure, we shouldn’t wait until death confronts us before we reorder what’s primary and what is secondary. But if we don’t even do it after paying our last respects to our loved ones in the coffin. Then, we seriously need to check on how much humanity we have lost in this crazy crazy world.
There are fights we need to fight. Some wars will be long and seems never ending. These battles need to be worth it and really meaningful. But the fact is a lot of the one’s we are engaged in are a little more trivial and are unfortunately blown out of proportion.
When we got humanity in check, and have not lost our souls to “egoistic” ambition, or what Parker Palmer calls the “empty” self, we will be in a safer posture to engage in battle to real enemies, and real injustices, and real forces of darkness.
Lord have mercy, there’s so much pain already in the world, and we’re called to be agents of healing. It would be nice that we do not contribute in inflicting extra pain in the world (and in our faith communities).
Of course, that’s a hope statement. We need to prepare for the worse, and looks like “ambulance” ministry is here to stay. It hurts, but that’s the cross some will bear to walk alongside wounded soldiers who got shot by unfriendly fire.
For now, I’m off to a memorial and the focus will be to support the grieving church member and family. I can only submit those who are in struggling and painful conflict situations either across the street or miles away, and pray for God’s mercy.