Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

I don’t know how it is for you, but as the days grow shorter and chillier, my inclination is to draw my attention homeward and inward.  To cook things that take a long time, to start books that are long and rich.  To clear out a little clutter and make a cold weather nest out of our home.

Photo: © iStock.com / andreusK (image #1029169532)This year in particular, as the news on the tv, radio, and above all social media is keeping my anxious attention riveted on Washington, DC, my homeward instinct seems to be especially strong.  I find myself alternating between two extremes:

  • Obsessively reading every article, listening to every podcast, and watching clips of every press briefing while refreshing my twitter feed to make sure I don’t miss anyone’s “hot takes” on all the latest developments….
  • Turning off the tv and radio, ignoring the paper, and using my phone only to access the library app so I can listen to novels, preferably ones written in the 19h century. 

Now this may be simply autobiographical - but I suspect I am not alone.  I suspect that many of us are in the same yo-yo pattern of absorption with American politics and rejection of the news altogether. 

Neither of these extremes seems to me to be an especially helpful way to navigate life. Both strategies keep our minds off the rest of the world.  And while our country is embroiled in its own political storm, meanwhile the rest of God’s world goes on, with news both distressing and hopeful.  In the midst of a climate crisis, hundreds of thousands of young people across the globe are rising up to seek a response. Terrible and frightening things are happening in Palestine and Yemen and people of every faith are working for peace.  Scientists are making breakthroughs in cancer research, artists and musicians are creating works of great beauty and meaning, historians are discovering new things about the human past.   Meanwhile, “the world offers itself to our imagination.”  

As summer gives way to fall, as the storms of politics and of our own lives entice us to turn inward, I encourage you to embrace the inwardness the season invites but then to turn outward beyond your own doors, beyond your own neighborhood, beyond our own country.  As we come to the table for worldwide communion, I invite you to join me in praying for the world: for allies and friends; for those we call our enemies, and for that day when we know we have no enemies.