So many things in our world are turned upside down right now. Things which used to fill our days and were so pressing, simply have evaporated as a priority. Suddenly our entire society, who has been engulfed in its busy-ness, has come to a halt. Individuals who have never been still in their life are suddenly motionless. The art of journaling or reflection may have never been an activity one engaged in, then just like that we are writing and asking big questions about the meaning of every aspect of our world.
As I have watched things unfold in recent weeks, I have repeatedly asked myself, “where are the faith communities?” Where are those who are supposed to be grounded in values such as service, hope, and comfort? When I write about faith communities, I mean them all—Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and all those others that span our world. I find myself perplexed by the broad-scale absence of their message, which should be grounded in comfort and hope as we navigate this path we’ve never walk before.
As I have transitioned to a temporary work-from-home environment, I have discovered, very quickly, my own need to,
- Recognize, then interrupt, a mental loop which can easily spin out of control with anxiety and worry;
- Redefine what a community of relationships is and how to “surround” myself with community when physical closeness is no longer an option;
- Use my own giftedness then allow others to use theirs; and
- Celebrate even the smallest joy
As I have recognized these needs in myself, I also realized that while I believe these are the very things a faith community excels in, and yet, I haven’t witnessed any broad-scale offerings to assist in meeting these needs for our nation.
Addressing our mental chatter and recognizing the lens of anxiety and worry
It seems that every faith tradition is centered on recognizing that the things (assumptions about political structures, value of life, stewardship) experienced and valued by one’s society in general should be examined through the belief system’s values. Is the way mainstream society addresses material items (home, car, clothing, travel) aligned with the faith system would address them? Where is the message of priorities during this unprecedented time?
The value of community
Look around and see places of worship in any town. There are places to gather with those aligned with our beliefs so that we might have reaffirmation and connection. With this disruption going on right now, why aren’t the faith communities expanding their circle of influence? I do see some local entities doing what they can, but scalability is essential right now and I believe faith traditions are allowing an opportunity to otherwise provide comfort and hope to a disoriented people, simply slip away.
Every faith tradition recognizes that we all have unique gifts and talents. This is a time where leadership and creativity are needed more than ever. I am unable to be all things to all people. There are some things I do with excellence. There are certain things I do pitifully yet others are passionate and excellent at those very things. It is important to offer my best self-right now and allow others, as they are created to be, contribute their best selves.
Call to action
I call on all faith traditions. Now is your moment to share your message. Tell us about comfort and hope and give us the peace you know. Allow us to imbue this peace into our very being. This saturation will be what changes the world.