Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do what you can, in the time that you are given, in the place where you are.

So a few months ago I decided that I did not do very well with staying in touch with what was going on in the world.

Naturally, instead of watching the news more of reading the paper, I downloaded an app.

Man, I am so hip with technology…

So now whenever news happens in the world, I get an update from CNN and if news happens in Memphis, I get the Action News 5 update.

I don’t know how many of you out there have these apps or get these updates but it has been one of the most depressing things.

I remember the first update I got.  “42 die in boat crash in Italy.”

Even just today, “Husband indicted on first-degree murder charges in wife’s death”.

It seems that every single day, something bad happens.  Why does this continue to happen?! 

Many times people turn to God when bad things happen and ask “Why? Why do you allow this to happen?”

One time I was reading something articles on this topic and ran across a picture.  A meme if you will.

What great and wonderful message can you get from a meme you may ask.

There was a man sitting on a bench talking to Jesus.  He asks, “Why do you allow all of these horrible things to happen?”

Jesus’ response, “That’s funny.  I was going to ask you the same thing.”

I think it is perfectly natural and normal to question and to be angry when something bad happens.  Yes, it is natural to blame it others as well.  It seems that a lot of times when you don’t know who to blame, we blame God.

Why did you allow this happen?!

As Christians, we are called to do many things.  As Episcopalians, we are allowed to believe a great number of things. 

One thing that many people believe is that some people are just born bad.  That they were created with an innate sense of evil and are destined to do bad things.

This is a concept that I strongly disagree.  I remember in one of my elementary school science classes we learned the principles of Causality.  If one thing happens, that directly causes something else to happen.

A few weeks ago, Rabbi Micah Greenstein came to be a guest speaker at our church.  A few of his words really stuck out to me and that is what I want to leave with you today.

Do what you can, in the time that you are given, in the place where you are.

That one sentence has remained with me for weeks since hearing Rabbi Greenstein say it.

There are plenty of problems hear in the city of Memphis.

In cities with a population of 500,000 or more, Memphis is the 3rd most dangerous city in America.

Ranked 2nd when it comes to Violent Crimes.

80% of the bottom ranked schools in the state of Tennessee are located in Memphis.

Did you know that more than 50% of 3rd graders in Tennessee can read at grade level?

So when you look at these statistics and we see that we have a lack of education, we have a lot of crime…there is a lot of work that can be done here.

In a city that has over 2,000 churches in it, where many of these places go off to other cities or countries to do week long mission trips.  Which is great, but what about the other 51 weeks in the year where you are not there to help.

Do what you can, in the time that you are given, in the place where you are.

The place that we are needs helps. 

What can we do to help?

We don’t have to go very far to make a difference.

So when we ask ourselves, why does God allow these bad things to happen?

Instead, look around and ask, what can I do to help make a change?

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