Daily Devotion for June 20, 2020

O Lord, you have enticed me,
   and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
   and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughing-stock all day long;
   everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
   I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’
For the word of the Lord has become for me
   a reproach and derision all day long. (Jeremiah 20:7-8)

I am stunned by comments I hear that say we are overreacting to coronavirus or that racism isn’t really that big a problem.  When I speak out about racial injustice or the dangers of regathering too quickly during the pandemic, I am labeled an alarmist, a pessimist, and trying to stir up trouble.  I tend to let these criticisms roll off because they are just normal behavior in a broken and troubled world. 

Jeremiah lamented this normal condition thousands of years ago – the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Faithful Jewish people and Christians throughout the ages have met with resistance and ridicule when they proclaim messages of care, concern, compassion, and peace in a world that holds different values.  Too often, Christians assume the guiding visions and values of all people include love, peace, harmony, justice, and mercy, but this simply isn’t true.  These things do reflect the will of God and the values of faithful Christians, but they are the ideal rather than our lived reality. 

We must acknowledge that the voices that support racism, war, violence, greed, selfishness, and popularity are always going to oppose voices raised for justice, hope, and peace.  It is important in such cases that we remember we are not alone.  God knows that when we live our faith we will often be viewed as laughing-stocks and that we will be mocked and attacked.  This is why our faith communities are so important, so that we never feel we have to stand alone, but we are part of a larger movement who champion the values of love.

God of love, and light, and life, we praise you.  Give us courage.  Give us strength.  When our regard for the good of others is met with resistance and mockery, help us to remain resolute.  Where we see injustice and oppression, inspire us to speak out, no matter how loud and angry our detractors are.  Remind us that this is part of our call, that we may be viewed as fools for Christ in the mind of a broken and hostile world and make this okay so that we can endure and triumph in every situation.  We ask this humbly in Jesus’ name.  Amen.