Be Careful Out There
1. The writer recalls thinking that “be careful” was the opposite of “have fun.” For you, what is the opposite of “be careful”?
2. How do you practice being care-full (full of care)?
3. What is the role of wisdom—versus fear—in carefulness?
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16 (NRSV)
When I was a kid, I heard “be careful” as the opposite of “have fun,” a harsh to my not-so-mellow, a kill to my buzz for life.
When I grew young and headstrong, I was sure that fearfulness was at the root of much that was wrong with the world. How could we be agents of love for others if we were overly focused on protecting ourselves from harm?
Now that I’m older and have suffered plenty of harm from circumstances I entered into with lots of open-heartedness and too little caution, I hear the admonition to “be careful” somewhat differently.
Caring, as it turns out, is both gospel call and risky business, the foundation of healing relationship and transformative community and the rocky, heartbreaking road to justice and peace. Being full of care includes caring for myself.
Holy One whose care knows no bounds, free me from the fear that limits and separates, and bless with the wisdom of care-full-ness.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.