Sorry for the inconvenience. I really can get annoyed at inconveniences. A road detour that takes me three blocks out of my way is annoying. But worse than physical annoyances of inconvenience are the thoughts of inconveniencing others. I hate it as much as the next person. Other people have enough going on in their lives that they don’t need me asking for their time. I don’t want to be an inconvenience and that’s what I feel like!
We strive for a comfortable life. We have our hopes, dreams and look forward to their fulfillment. So, when grandma can’t care for the grandchildren during a pandemic, she feels bad because of the inconvenience. Yet, we deal with inconvenience in the midst of our comfortable lives every day. Someone else in the house left the toast setting on high and the toast burned. How inconvenient! Perhaps you went to bed last night without setting the alarm but when you wake up in the morning it is with the realization that you are already an hour late for work! Now that’s inconvenient!
We may be concerned about inconvenience, but God isn’t. Our forbearers in the faith were used to inconvenience. When God called Moses to lead the people across the wilderness usurping 40 years of his life, God did not say, “ Hey Moses, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience but…” When God called Jonah to be a prophet and cry out against the wickedness of Nineveh, God did not say, “Jonah, I’m sorry for the inconvenience but…” When Jesus called a group of twelve to leave their fishing villages, and other means of livelihood to follow him, Jesus didn’t say, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience but...” When Saul was promoting the killing of Christians, and God’s Spirit struck him blind and changed his life from one of power and prestige to one of an itinerant preacher who was beaten, imprisoned, ship wrecked and driven out of one town after another in order to share the hope of Jesus the Christ that filled his being, the Spirit didn’t’ say, “Sorry for the inconvenience!”
God isn’t interested in your inconvenience. God is interested in justice. “The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning.” (Psalm 29:7) the psalmist shouts. That’s how the voice of the Lord has sounded to me this past week. Like a bolt of lightning. You know how lightening can get out attention with the bright light and the piercing crackle. The death of a young person is always terrible, but the death of George Floyd was like a bolt of lightning. This tragic incident turned out to be a wakeup call, from the fear, anguish, and discrimination that our black friends face each day. This bolt of lightning is like a cleansing flame of peaceful unrest against racism. I see the Holy Spirit whirling, gathering peoples together across the world to bring about change. The powers and principalities of this world are being scrutinized by all people. More people are recognizing that the powers and principalities of our country and world are in many ways are still stacked against our black sisters and brothers.
One sign at a Des Moines peace march really struck me. It said, “Sorry for the inconvenience. We are just trying to change the world.” Later that same day nineteen-year-old Sandrah Nasimiyu in her speech stated boldly, “I want the suburbs to be inconvenienced because I’m inconvenienced every day, being black. I am inconvenienced every day." As I think about it, I can’t imagine the inconvenience she faces. I have not known the fear that my black siblings face. How easy it is to get comfortable and forget that our black brothers and sisters are not.
Inconvenience for the sake of our black siblings can be addressed in several way:
In the days ahead, for the sake of our world, for justice for all people, I challenge you to be inconvenienced. Speak about God’s love for all people in your homes. Reach out in love to your black friends at work or in your neighborhood who may be hurting. Share God’s love. Talk about racism in your homes. Speak the truth in love to those who support racist ideas and ideologies. Think about your politics. If you believe your party stance without ever questioning it, then you are too comfortable. Dialogue with others about racism. Spend some time reading about the racism issue. We will have some suggested books on our website soon. Perhaps we can do a book study and discussion.
The Spirit is at work, and we need to let her change us because God is in control and mighty good things happen as the Spirit, call, gathers and unites. This is a start, dear friends. Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” So, don’t get to comfortable. God is calling you!
Pastor Pam Schroeder