This is how we create a better world each day
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
We sat knitting, glancing up from time to time to gaze at the stark beauty of the Ten Mile Range, in the background Max Richter’s Blue Notebooks played. From time to time there were snippets of conversation, but mostly we enjoyed companionable silence.
The afternoon visit with my friend Pat reminded me of the verses I’d read that morning from Romans 12:9-21, depending on the Bible translation these verses are called Love in Action or Rules of Christian Living. I think of them as a guide hospitality (“the friendly treatment of guests or strangers”) and a good life:
Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Feed your enemy.
So much of our lives are spent rushing from one thing to another, the meeting at work, the doctor’s appointment, the child picked up from practice, the sit-down dinner traded for a hasty take-out eaten in front of a TV.
We worry about bills that arrive when our checking account is dwindling. We watch the news and wonder if the next missile won’t be a test but the start of something very dangerous. We live our lives within our tribes aware of our standing, whether it is based on meritocracy or decided by someone else’s perception of where we belong.
We forget what silence sounds like, what peace feels like, what love tastes like. We are so busy, busy, busy.
I believe hospitality is a good place to start when our lives become so frantic that our rush to attend to the next pressing thing causes us to forget the longer view of our common humanity. The vision that Jesus intended us to have when he commanded that we love God, and love our brother as our self.
We’ve seen that commandment on full view from Texas as a line of trucks pulling all manner of personal watercraft owned by private citizens from as near as one county west, to New York, and Maine, men and women who came to help, not because they knew anyone affected, but because they knew they were needed.
When there’s a national disaster, we see the best in ourselves. Why can’t we find that goodness in each other day to day?
We need to create ordinary holiness within our daily lives. Our faith should be seen in daily acts of grace. Our love for God should be reflected in how we treat ourselves and each other each day, not only when the floods arrive.
“Serve the Lord, rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer”: Let’s find moments to savor the presence of God. When I spend even five minutes in prayer when I rise or before I go to sleep thanking God for the good in my life, presenting my needs, asking for patience as I seek solutions, my day is easier, my sleep is sounder. But most of all, when I sit in silent gratitude in God’s holy presence, I find peace in my soul.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Do not pretend to be wiser than you are. Try to live peaceably with one another.” It’s easy to compare our lives with others, and find our way superior. This seems especially true with those closest to us: our family, our social circle, our faith community. Let’s look for common ground: our love for one another and of God. When we find peace within ourselves, we can offer peace to others.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for in doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Let’s practice hospitality every day. The tapestry of our faith is woven in the small threads of daily friendship, kindness, and service, as we are present for God, our community, and ourselves. This is how we create a better world each day.