One of the core questions of religion is why bad things happen, especially to good people. We seem to have more and more opportunities to ask that question.
Vans and trucks plowing into people on sidewalks. The shooting of political representatives at a baseball game. A fire in London. The on-going war in Syria. Police not held responsible for shooting innocent black people.
Terrorism, war, injustice.
All this on top of the routine cancer diagnoses, deaths of loved ones, political scandals, broken hearts, all the stuff of life.
We live in a world of tragedy.
Simultaneously, we live in a world of wonder and beauty. We cannot ignore either. How, though? How can we hold all this together and manage to stay balanced and rational?
First, we have to recognize that we cannot do everything. We cannot care for every child who has been hurt and abused. We cannot prevent every unnecessary death. We cannot stop every unjust law.
We can acknowledge and know the reality of each of these, though. We can let it in and feel what it stirred up. We can refuse to become jaded and adjusted to a world of tragedy. We can even let ourselves feel helpless, if we don’t let ourselves stay there. We can share our feelings with others and comfort and be comforted. We need to work through the emotional response, because unless we do, our reactions and responses will stay at an emotional level.
Because the next step is to decide where we can focus our own limited, but real, energies. Those energies multiply when we join them with others. Working in concert more than doubles what we can do. Joining voices can be effective.
And, to stay inspired and energized, we have to find those places of beauty and wonder in the world, know them, and try to spread them, squeezing out the unnecessary tragedy. We have to learn to love the world as it is, while trying to make it better every day.
I hope we do some of that as we gather together in our fellowship.
In faith and freedom,