Headlines and Lowlights
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. – Jeremiah 31:33 (NRSV)
I don’t know why I keep looking at the news first thing every morning. For a long time, I thought knowing what was happening in the world, even the worst of it, would make me feel more secure, better prepared to respond to disaster. But a lot of the time—maybe even most of the time—I end up feeling unsettled instead, frustrated by the number of things that feel out of control and mad at the people who are making them that way.
I hear my father’s voice from long ago telling me, “Don’t say mad, say angry.” But this feeling I have goes way beyond angry. It’s as if all my joints are both wound up tight and impossibly loose. I have the passion to smash things but none of the precision to keep from being reckless. And while, if pressed, I would tell you I don’t believe in an actual Devil, that feeling and the people and situations that inspire it feel like hell.
My lowlights correspond with the lowlights of the world as it is. When we get caught in the hellmouth of headlines, we fix nothing and help no one.
Maybe today, I’ll leave my phone on the bedside table and turn to a different authority for my security. Maybe today, instead, I will embrace the early morning and pray.
Holy God, write your law on our hearts. Bring about the world as it should be, for everyone. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, from The Pilgrim Press.