"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
~ Ephesians 5: 17
Roughly 70 years ago now, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was arrested, tried, and executed for having been part of a plot to kill Hitler. His vocal out cries against Nazism and the extermination of the Jews made himself a target.
While a student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary I would be introduced to Bonhoeffer's life and his book, "The Cost of Discipleship."
It both caused my heart to ache for real justice in the world, while reminding me that sometimes our relationship and vocation to follow and serve God can be challenging and costly.
It didn't make me want to go out and plan to make such radical changes in my neighborhood, or to plot to remove a political figure when the agenda didn't match my own. I did realize that we all, at some point, must stand for something.
The parable of the good seed tells us of three options for where seeds land and sprout, reminding of the good soil necessary to produce a positive outcome. This morning's photo is a reminder of the struggle even a morning glory has to find it's place among the rocky hillside.
I'm unsure why Bonhoeffer and morning glories seem to have filled my thoughts this morning, but we need to be reminded that following Christ at times can be difficult, however, making sure that we are following Christ's heart and not ours is optimum.
There is so much unrest, chaos, and divisions. The struggle to identify "fake news" among millions of sound bytes leaves us all wondering what is the truth and what is a lie.
I remember being a child and my family passed by a group of people protesting the war in Vietnam. The signs asked how many children LBJ murdered that day? As a child I was afraid that he might be after me next. I didn't understand. Of course it wasn't about children my age, it was about young soldiers dying on the battlefield in Vietnam.
I remember being among a group of women, my mother being one of them, when Roe V Wade was being debated. She carried signs with other women demanding the right to decide what happens with their body. I remember not completely understanding what it meant to have an abortion, but understood enough that it meant a woman could decide to have a baby or not.
I wasn't so much afraid as I was concerned after asking my mother if she had wanted to kill me, too, but couldn't because it wasn't legal. She didn't answer my question, and even nearly a half century later and the strained relationship I have with her, I wonder if somewhere in my mind the answer was "yes."
Our convictions shape what people think of us, what our convictions say about our faith, while providing a window for others into the heart of who we are as a society.
The letter to the Ephesians reminds us not to be foolish. I can almost hear the writer saying, "Don't be stupid y'all!" (I've lived in Texas long enough that I sometimes read and hear things this way!)
While out demonstrating, whether peacefully, chanting about what has happened, or declaring the need for justice, we are told to be careful. We are shaping society, and small children and the world for that matter is watching.
This is an opportunity for us to truly demonstrate our ability to come together and stand as One Nation under a sacred calling whether we be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. After all, we all know the same Creator, who understands each of us, regardless of our differences, but we must understand what the Lord's will is for us. The only way we can heal our nation is to look honestly at our wounds while seeking to be the instruments of healing together.
The cost of Discipleship should not cost us our nation or the life of one more American at the hand of another American.
While I don't believe that killing is ever the answer, being able to shape ideas that will overwhelm the status quo has to be the optimum opportunity while demonstrating the love of Christ for one another.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.