It is stunning how much has happened in these first six months of 2020. One of the things I will remember most from this time is the evening of March 19th. I was still at the office when I received word that the City and the State had both just issued stay-at home orders. When I heard the news my first thought was, “Life just got hard.” I paused for a bit before starting to figure out what I needed to take home with me since I didn’t know when I would return to the office. It was during that pause that I realized this was very likely one of those moments in history that would fundamentally change society.
That night I had no idea the scope of what was to come in just the next three months.
With all that has happened, it may be hard to believe that just four weeks before the stay-at-home orders were announced, we were gathered in Anaheim to celebrate Youth Day with the theme: 2020 Through God’s Eyes. I think the young people who discerned this theme were truly hearing the prophetic voice of the Spirit. Throughout these months, I have found this theme echoing in my awareness. It has often prompted me to pause and to ponder how God sees all that is happening, as well as what role God sees for me in responding to it.
These have been some challenging questions. The first question has necessitated an openness to set aside my own perspectives and preferences at least for a time. This is the only way I can see differently. By listening to the perspectives of other people, I’m able to see a bigger picture. In hearing the stories of others, my heart is opened to greater empathy. It is often in the voices of others that I find the voice of God. Attentiveness to God’s perspective has helped me to see more clearly both what is wrong and what is right in the world and in my own backyard. Sometimes what I see looks quite different from the perspective where I began.
The second question has demanded that I take seriously my responsibility to do something. When I was praying several weeks ago, a persistent thought came up that was both sobering and empowering: I was born for this time. The unique gifts and talents with which God created me are not merely for my own benefit; they were given for me to serve the needs of our world today. When looking at all that is broken and seeing all who are hurting, it can be overwhelming. What difference can I really make? Yet as a disciple, God invites me to trust that my choices and actions do make a difference, no matter how small they might seem.
The realities we face today make this a challenging time, but it is also an exciting time! God is walking this journey right at our side, inviting us to embrace the reality that each one of us was born for this time. As much as this thought might terrify us, God has placed us here because each of us has something to contribute toward the healing and transformation of our families, our society, our Church, and our world. I’m reminded of the words of Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” May the Holy Spirit calm our fears, dispel our doubts, help us to see through God’s eyes, and empower us to change our world for the good.