It was a rough night in Iowa and Nebraska. The sirens, the high winds, the tornados, the tragedy of lives lost and property destroyed. It was a night that held anxiety and fear for many.
This morning I ran across an article that seemed to address one thing that we can “do” with these feelings of fear, helplessness and that sense of being trapped in situations beyond our control. Written by a good friend of mine, Cackie Upchurch, director of Little Rock Scripture Study, it’s entitled “OFFER IT UP!” Enjoy!
When many of us were younger these words may have come to sound trite, as in “stop complaining and get on with it,” or “life isn’t supposed to be easy.” In truth, we can offer “it” up (our suffering, our bodies, our daily routines, etc) in ways that bond us together as Christ’s body. This feels especially important in these days when we see homes and entire towns ripped apart in tornadoes, refugees fleeing in utter fear of enemies who seek their destruction, geo-political moves that threaten regional stability around the globe.
Consider this just for today. Make a conscious commitment to unite yourself with those who suffer in ways that we can only hope to avoid. Put yourself in the place of a child who is filled with both fear and courage as she tries to find a way out of a desperate situation. Imagine the sense of loss an elderly couple feels when seeing their long-time home shredded by damaging storms. Place yourself in a clandestine meeting with those who need creative and wise plans to deal with their enemies. These are the people with whom we can unite our lives today, offering to God whatever we experience this day that draws us closer to those who suffer. We can make a profound act of trust that God can and will transform these wounds as God transformed the wounds of Jesus on the cross.
Let’s pray these words of St. Paul as our own prayer, on behalf of those whose lives cry out for courage and relief and transformation:
We hold a treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. (2 Cor 4:7-10)
~ Cackie Upchurch