by Rev. Kathy Bouchard
A couple of weeks ago, our marquee read, “So many issues it’s hard for this sign to keep up!” I think we could say the same for ourselves, so many issues it’s hard for us to keep up! Last Sunday, as we considered Jesus’ instructions to take up our cross and follow, I shared some wisdom from Henri Nouwen, and a few people asked that I share the list of Nouwen’s questions in this week’s Echo. Nouwen understood that none of us can do everything that needs to be done to address the suffering of the world, but each of us can do something. He also understood that feelings of inadequacy or helplessness or guilt are often stumbling blocks that cause us to veer off of the path of compassion that Jesus calls us to follow. Nouwen suggested that we ask ourselves these questions, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love?” All of these things help us keep focused on the path of compassion. I suggest that there’s one more question for us to ask ourselves each day as we seek to follow Jesus, “Did I seek a deeper understanding of the suffering in the world and did I respond with some form of compassion?”
There is much suffering in the world. We are called to respond with compassion, to take up our cross and follow Jesus. As a community of faith, we help one another find strength for the task as we show up for one another when the community gathers. This coming Sunday should leave everyone who is able to show up much stronger since it will be what I’ve dubbed a marathon Sunday. It will be an amazing day with many opportunities: Sunday School, Morning Worship with Arthur preaching, Organ Recital featuring a variety of instruments and vocalists, and Jazz Vespers with our own Kamilah Hall-Sharp bringing the word. The elders will tie a bow on the day and call it good when they meet at 7:00 p.m. Surely, those of us who are able to participate in some or all of the day will be refreshed, renewed, and inspired to keep on keeping on in our compassionate responses to suffering in the world. See you Sunday!