Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Off Script

There is a script that we follow in the days and weeks following a mass shooting. That fact alone is awful. We have a script. So it goes.

And after Orlando, we are following our script perfectly well. Everyone is an expert. Everyone knows just what the problem is. And each of us is so quick to point out how everyone else is wrong and we are right. And then we yell at each other a while and nobody actually does anything and we all just wait for the next one.

Forgive the hyperbole. It’s just so … exhausting. In my head I understand that everyone will have a reaction and everyone is entitled to that reaction. We are emotional beings, and we cannot help but react with emotions filled to overflowing when tragedy happens. I try not to begrudge anyone their particular reaction to a national event like Orlando … or Roseburg … or Aurora … or Newtown … There is heartbreak. There is anger. There is grief. There is despair.

There’s a script - “It’s the guns. It’s mental illness. It’s radical Islam.” And this time, “It’s homophobia.” As if addressing "this issue" is a multiple choice quiz. As if we could just pick the “correct” answer and it will fix everything.

I find that when overwhelming circumstances threaten to stifle me, I need to return to the Lord in prayer and meditation. I need to refocus my mind on God, and remember who God is, and who God wants me to be. I need to re-order my thinking so that it more closely aligns with Christ’s. I need to attune my spiritual senses to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I need to hush. I need to just be still. I need to listen for the divine whisper again. I need to go “off script” and allow God to guide me. I need time to process, to reconstruct, to learn.

And then, having taken that time, I need to act. I need to speak. I need to write. I need to be an ambassador of love, grace, justice, hope, peace. I need to work to make this world look more like God wants it to look. I need to offer Christ.

I invite you to go “off script” with me. To be still for a while and listen for God’s whisper. And then to act graciously, on God’s guidance. Speak up on behalf of love. Work for peace. Confront injustice, oppression, and discrimination. Strive to be the church that God desires. Offer hope. Offer Christ.