We are missing something very important in our lives today, this may very possibly be each other. Our world is at war; you may say it is only in Ukraine, but you are wrong. Our world is at war against cruelty, inhumanity, and Love. I pray for God to come into the madness we call civilization.
God brought us community; several times over the course of recorded history, God has tried to join us together in Love and mutual care. But of course, we ignored Him. Thousands of years ago, humanity created the idea and the institution of church and called it many names. The idea being that in church we pray together and follow the leadership of God. And as often as this was tried, it failed; the result – always war. Our churches are not relevant enough because they are not doing the job necessary to maintain peace.
To quote Ilia Delio, “For centuries the Church has operated like a well-oiled machine, but the oil is running low, and the machine is running down.” St. Francis really did not want ordained priests. I don’t know all of his reasons, but I think the tendency to follow whatever liturgy the church demands is a good guess. Not that the liturgy is bad; it is just outdated. Church is supposed to bring us together; but a church that ignores the horror and the trials or of people’s lives is irrelevant to most reasonable people. We cannot ignore the terror of people subjected to the horrors of the world.
Churches are not bad; the drive they have to assist refugees are God’s work. But he community doing this is tiny compared to what can occur should the church speak out against the terrors of war. There is little protest heard from the pulpit, and face it, once the sermon is over, people leave the church to go on with their lives. I don’t know why clergy is reluctant to condemn war openly; I don’t know why they will not put aside the message of the Bible proscribed for a particular day to relate God’s message to people about the wrongness of war and the wrongness of sin in our everyday lives.
I only know that we need each other, particularly in times of war. This is God’s wish. Our community of Love should raise us to the stars we see in the sky; the joy of heaven is realized when we listen to the needs of others and respond accordingly. My neighbor’s story and suffering is my story and suffering.
What is church all about? I’ve always believed that church is community with shared struggles and blessing; these come from our shared stories and our shared Love. It is these that which bind us together. It is these that when working together and following the path of God bring us eternal blessings.
Dear Father of all, You have brought us into community sharing Your Love in a beautiful way; when our world is full of unrest, misery, and war, come to us as our savior and protector and lead us out of our self-made trials.
© Russell Kendall Carter