June 25, 2020

Words of
Encouragement & Hope
From George Wheeler



What Needs to Change?

I have lived through a lot of turbulent times and experiences in my life. While this year has been challenging, and maybe frustrating and disturbing, it really has not brought on anything new.
 
As I started to write this, we were in the ninth day of racial protests and violence over the George Floyd murder. Disgraceful as it was, this is not new. It has been a while since the world faced the Polio crisis, the influenza epidemics and the black plague, so Covid-19 is not new. Even the political nonsense over treatments and protocols is not new. The stock market drops and jobless rate increases are certainly not new. Even the potential split of a major Christian denomination is not new.

Yet..... somehow this year seems different. Maybe it is the isolation that has given us time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives. Perhaps it is the quick, deep and broad-based rejection of a senseless, inhumane murder and the calling to question the continuing issue of racism in our country and within ourselves. 

Several years ago, I turned my TV off and dropped my newspaper subscriptions. I was tired of hearing the hatred and extremism that seemed to be in every news report. As I look back on my actions, I realized that I was running away from the issues. Not exactly what the Spirit of the Lord might have had in mind. 

So, as I listen to the various discussions on racism today, I wrestle with what I should be doing. I need to change, to change the way I look at the issues, the way I listen and above all I need to change my attitude. What I long for is Peace, to be able to lower the emotions of conversations, to choose my words more carefully, and to be more respectful of others and their situations.

Jesus’s words of Peace encouraged the disciplines at the beginning of his ministry “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God;” and toward the end his ministry (John 14): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you."  Not as the world gives do I give to you. " Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  

And Paul comments to the Corinthians: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you .”