我儘 Wagamama! Part 2
David said further to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” I Chron 28:20 (NRSV)
In a previous devotion I wrote about the Japanese word wagamama which means “selfish, ego-centric, or autocratic.”
I write in the wee hours of the morning after a night where I never found sleep. It was the second night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the looting and torching of buildings in my hometown of Kenosha.
The protest erupting after, yet again, a police officer pumped the backside of the body of an unarmed black man full of bullets. This time his small children looked on. And through the lens of a cell phone camera, we, as a nation, looked on in horror and anger and disgust and shame and fear.
I had just been thinking that wagamama is a problem of fear over faith. It strikes the human heart when we don’t fully rely on God but retreat into the false safety of our own things and hoard resources for ourselves even though others have greater need. We retreat and isolate when we should act.
In at least 33 places the Bible teaches “do not be afraid.” Perhaps we need to hear it so often because we feel fear so often. I have noticed in my own life that fear is on the rise. Not speaking feels like complicity with evil and a failure of leadership. Yet, speaking up about most anything these days surely draws hostility. How can we move to a place of selfless witness for Jesus when paralyzed by fear? How can we be both thick-skinned and tender-hearted?
The answer seems easy and is clearly stated in David’s words to his son, “Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” Perhaps I could hum, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” as I strive for strength and good courage. The thing is that when we ponder all of this, we realize that we are not alone, but walking in the company of God and other followers of Jesus. Fear and its partner wagamama fall away. There will still be risk, and we will still err and misstep, but in the service of God and one another we can be strong and of good courage, and act.
Pray with me in song:
Just a Closer Walk with Thee, author unknown
I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Thro' this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. [Refrain]
When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. [Refrain]
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.