It is increasingly hard to find hope in dark places - or perhaps it always was?
It seems with world events, and in particular the killings in Paris, the bombings in Beirut, the mass loss of life and people fleeing Syria of late - these images are burned into our psyche and it is difficult to know how other people can hurt others in this way, and how we, as people who value love and peace and humanity, can help. It's hard to know.
Seeing the world hurt, hurts. As we are approaching advent and the birth of baby Jesus, I can't help but think that it's more critical than ever in these times to remember that love is greater than fear, and light is greater than darkness. It's not just a metaphor, and not just words of faith. It's not an empty promise. Love is always greater…it won't stop the hurt right now but it will win the war.
Last Sunday we prayed a prayer as led by a 7 year old:
Sometimes we choose money over love.
We pray for all those people hurt by greed.
Help us to be more loving.
Sometimes we choose busy-ness over peace.
We pray for those who don't have time to find peace.
Help us to be more still.
Sometimes we want security more than listening to your Spirit.
We pray for a world that tells us to build wealth,
help us to trust in you.
We pray for everyone who is sick, hurt or suffering.
We pray that we can fill our own hearts with peace and courage
To help the world be a better place.
We pray in Your Spirit,
A part of this has really stayed with me this week: the choosing of busyness over peace.
Are we addicted to being busy (as a society)? I think so.
I am currently chaplain-ing in a major local hospital for a while, and on Tuesday I met a woman who doesn't have a lot of time left, for she has terminal cancer. She was trying to locate what it is in society today that we work long hours, drive a long way to do it, eat processed, packaged food, pay cleaners to clean our homes, and get a gardener to maintain a lawn instead of growing vegetables.
Life seems so fast and it appears that we have lost a lot in the chase to gain something.
Where do people find community these days? The church used to be the central point of community and social life but it is no longer.
Where do people find their nutrients for their bodies? It used to be in fresh fruit and veg but this seems limited now.
Where do people find activity and stimulation for their bodies? Many seem to pay a lot of money to walk on a machine at the gym rather than the outdoor parks.
Our world seems topsy turvey at times. Perhaps it is good to remember, as the woman I met on Tuesday is, that you can't rearrange the past once it's gone. You can't retrieve the times not spent with loved ones or the spring flowers not enjoyed. The packet foods might help in the immediate but there is a long term loss to this as well.
The message in this? Let's choose to enjoy this moment, right now, and the life we live whilst we have it. It's a precious gift to be cherished - that's not to say you "should" eat vegetables or plant a garden - but whatever you do - make sure it is life-giving for you. Life is too short to be so busy that we miss out on life itself.
I am Sarah, a Deacon in the UCA, and minister to Belair Uniting Church. I am married to Dave and mum of two beautiful and active boys. I am thrilled to be a part of such an amazingly connected, supportive and sincere community such as Belair Uniting Church.