By Bren Dubay
Near the end of our Gathered Worship each Sunday there is a period of silence. We’re encouraged to use at least some of this silence to look back at the past week to find a moment for which we are most grateful. Then, those of us who would like to do so, share our moments aloud.
I find this a solid discipline. When did I see God breaking into my life or into the lives of others? What was that scene in nature that took my breath away or that sentence in a book that shook up my brain, gave me an insight or made me think? As I sauntered across the big, wide lawn of Koinonia Farm, did I catch a glimpse or overhear an exchange between people obviously enjoying one another’s company? There are many days when laughter fills the Koinonia dining hall. I love the sound of it. It works in a good way on my heart.
“Thank you.” “I appreciate these moments.” Do we say this enough to God and to each other?
Can we train ourselves to look for the good and the beautiful and respond with a simple “I’m grateful for this!” Can we train ourselves to look for what is working? The culture bombards us with the dark — I am bewildered by the negativity in print, on TV, Facebook, Twitter, all the social media. I am bewildered by my own darkness — the dark that lies within. True, there is much that is not right without and within and much we must work to change, but in what frame of mind and in what spirit do we want to fight for change? Is our fight for justice helped by creating many faceless enemies?
To what do I want to give birth? Someone expresses displeasure on social media and the comments begin adding more negativity to the situation. Will this negative vortex effect change? Rarely.
Instead, if there is a problem, name it, then turn attention to how the problem might be solved. Get excited and positive about finding a solution. If something is not working, name it, then set about trying to figure out a way to make it work. Notice something for which you are grateful? Name it. Let it work on you.
There is a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln. “Don’t I defeat my enemy when I make him my friend.” That notion has always made sense to me.
Love your enemies. And who said that? Jesus. He was a smart guy. Let loving your enemies work on you. Cultivate a spirit of gratefulness then work like heck for justice. Negativity does not create a healthy heart. Gratitude, however, does. Let’s get to work on being grateful and turning enemies into friends.