Scripture Reading: Zechariah 7:8 – 8:8
Scripture: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor. And do not scheme against one another.”
What a time to be alive. I am a conspiracy theorist. I’ll admit it. It’s hard for me to take things at face value. So when we approached the long awaited and long planned release of thousands of files surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I was pumped. This was it. Time for the smoking gun. Time to finally clear this up. And then there was a delay and then a release of some but not all files. And so, we wait again. For 60 years we have been wondering if someone really schemed to assassinate the president.
I wonder if we will ever stop scheming.
I wonder if we will ever not be obsessed with the actual scheme and the schemers.
Scheming comes from a place of envy and fear.
Scheming is designed for those seeking revenge.
Scheming is scummy.
Our newscasts and Twitter feeds and social media timelines are filled with the latest news of the latest group or person scheming against another group or person.
Here’s the problem with scheming. Scheming distracts and disorients.
It prevents us from having honest, difficult and raw conversations about things we are passionate about.
It forces us to paint people with broad strokes and not ask the most important question…why?
Why did he say that?
Why is that person homeless?
Why did she relapse…again?
Why do these refugees want to leave their country and come to ours?
Why did they take a knee?
Why do we need assault rifles on our shelves?
Why did she wait 30 years to say #metoo?
Instead of scheming in response to the actions of others, we are called to love.
Love begins with empathy.
Love begins with asking why.
We can continue to disparage those who don’t agree with us, don’t look like us, don’t view things the way we view them.
Or we can show kindness and mercy to one another.
Or we can ask why.
Or we can come to the table and break bread together and tear down the walls between us.
The walls built by fear and stereotypes and ignorance.
We won’t ultimately agree on every last thing and there will always be differences among us. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to bridge these gaps among us.
I found this quote on the side of my Chipotle bag one day and I loved it so much that I framed it and put it in my office. Steven Pinker once said “Will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.” #preach
When God sent his son Jesus to live and walk among us some 2,000 years ago there was a light that entered the world. Every year we celebrate his birth to be reminded that each one of us is called to be that light. To be that beacon of love and grace to everyone around us. To ask why for the oppressed, the widows, the foreigners, the addicts, the innocent, the sick and the poor among us.
During this Advent season, I pray that each of us can resist the urge to scheme and embrace the schemes surrounding us. Instead let us love abundantly and wildly and outlandishly in the way that only a Savior of the world could do.
Prayer: Dear God, Give us the strength to find peace and calm during this time of Advent. Challenge us to stop scheming and start loving. Amen.