Following God’s call

Dr. Carolyn N. Roy, Plank Chapel United Methodist Church
Aug. 15, 2014 @ 07:18 PM

Today, I am faced with a deadline to write my column. Watching the news about Robin Williams, the people of Iraq stranded on a hillside because of persecution, Ebola victims dying, riots and vandalism over the death of a young man and violent weather causing destruction, I wonder what news will be in the headlines when this column is printed? I wonder what news of today will already be forgotten? The world is indeed a place of great pain and suffering. The world is full of injustice and violence. 

As I have considered what I might write, I have been haunted by a scene in “Fiddler on the Roof.”  It is at the end of the story, as the villagers are being evicted and packing up their belongings. One of the villagers asked the Rabbi, “We’ve been waiting all our lives for the Messiah. Wouldn’t now be a good time for him to come?” The Rabbi answers, “We’ll have to wait for him someplace else. In the meantime, let’s start packing.”

As Christians, we are waiting for Christ to come again. The promise of that second coming is the promise of the Kingdom of God where pain and suffering and death will be no more. Wouldn’t now be a good time for Him to come? 

I can hear Jesus in the Rabbi’s response. He will come again. It is not for us to decide when. I recognize that it is our hope and faith in His coming that sustains us through the chaos of the world. In the meantime, we have work to do. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are commissioned to go into the world, into the chaos, and be His disciples until He comes again. Do not fear. We are not alone. He also promised to be with us. We are to serve the needs of the poor, the sick, the tired, the homeless, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, our neighbor. We are to be instruments of healing and peace in this world. We may not have the answer to the violence in the middle east, but we can be peace makers here in this place. We may not have the scientific wisdom to find the cure for Ebola, but our gift of tutoring a young student may send him or her into the field of medicine. We will not know the pain and suffering our neighbor is experiencing unless we knock on their door and offer our hand in friendship. We cannot stop wind, rain or fire, but we can lend our hands to those rebuilding lives after the devastation.  

Jesus came not so that the world might be condemned but that the world might be saved. The salvation of the world is His to accomplish. We do not carry that burden. We carry the burden of our neighbor, whom Jesus called us to love. As you read the news of this day, where is God calling you to love?