“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps light, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast.” —Luke 12:35-36
Yesterday, our UCC Penn Northeast Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates sent out a message in our weekly newsletter that speaks to exactly what Jesus is saying in our lectionary text tomorrow: Dress for service and keep your lamps lit.
Bonnie doesn’t use Jesus’ exact language. Instead, she wisely calls us into action today. In reflecting upon our recent, tragic news, Bonnie says, “Once again hate, racism, and violence have combined to rock our nation. Praying this week has helped me a little, but I lament the lack of affirmative action to counter the hateful rhetoric, the violence, the diatribes of blame and fear. My friends, I believe it is time to do more than pray.”
Bonnie continues. “Whether you believe gun control is the appropriate response, or providing more mental health services is the appropriate response, or anti-racism education is the appropriate response, it is time for people of faith to speak out, to act rather than to simply pray. I will not define what your beliefs or actions will be. I will not urge you to approach the issue from a particular perspective. I will only urge you to act.”
Our conference minister is not saying that prayer is ineffective. In fact, prayer is our guiding tool, our link to our God who, through His Son in this text and other texts, calls us not into passivity but active duty.
We have a gracious, giving, and guiding God of incredible love. Rather than saying people should know this, let’s show this.
If the churchless see the church as indifferent it is because the church has been indifferent. So, love our enemy. Feed our hungry. Clothe our naked. Care for our nation.
How? Dress for service. Keep our lamps lit so others’ lamps can be lit.
PRAYER: Lord, stir us. Remind us that our care for our broken and our broken systems doesn’t end with prayer; it begins with prayer. And then move us to action. Amen.