A congregation of the United Church of Canada
March 16, 2022
Two Sundays ago it was 15 degrees C and it felt remarkably like spring was going to begin. It was just a tease, of course. Intellectually we all knew that – but it didn’t stop me from wanting to believe that we were all done with snow. Last Sunday was much cooler, but I thought it was going to be a nice day. I was wrong. By the time I drove home from church it was snowing hard, with white-outs on some sections of the road. Then it just kept snowing, and snowing. Sigh. I looked out at my driveway that night and went and charged up the batteries for my snow blower, expecting to have to use it the next morning.
When I woke up on Monday I saw lots and lots of snow, but this time I looked at the weather forecast and saw that the temperature was going to climb and climb all week to double digits again. So I looked at my driveway and said, “I’ll let God do it!” Sure enough, here we are on Wednesday and my driveway is completely clear. My strategy worked perfectly.
Some days I wish life could be like that. It would be great to look at the problems in the world and just be able to say, “I’ll let God do it.” Wouldn’t it? There’s an environmental crisis. We need to change our consumption habits. “I’ll let God do it.” Racism and white privilege are insidiously wreaking havoc. We need to awaken people and move their hearts and minds. “I’ll let God do it.” People need a living wage, and the housing market is unjust. “That sounds complicated, and costly. I’ll let God do it.” There are devastating wars in Ukraine, Myanmar, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and too many more places. “That’s above my pay grade. I’ll let God do it.”
Of course it doesn’t work that way. But rather than be discouraged and defeated, what if we turned it all around? What if instead of trying to solve the world’s problems all at once, I just worked on my own inner world first? We know the metaphor well. If a plane has an emergency we’re instructed to put on our own air mask first before trying to help others. If we rush to help before we’re steady, we may become part of the problem.
The Season of Lent helps us focus on that inner world. Like with this verse we sang recently:
God, replace my stony heart with a heart that’s kind and tender.
All my coldness and fear to your grace I now surrender.
Spirit open my heart.
I really do want to live a more Christlike life, and to do my part to lean into all those terrible problems and challenges in the world. But I know I don’t have what it takes on my own. I need to allow the Spirit to open my heart and let it be renewed, and reshaped, and recharged. It’ll be hard, but I think I know how the rejuvenation of my heart might happen. Can you guess? (I’ll let God do it.)