Sufferings and Glories
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18 (NRSV)
Many people have committed to the long haul of ending racism. We know it is a slog. We also know it is God’s destination for humanity. We know we were made by God to get along, to share the wealth, to realize our full humanity.
We also know how lost we are, how many generations it will take to equalize wealth or glorify every child, no matter their address.
Theologian Henri Nouwen said, “The paradox of expectation indeed is that those who believe in tomorrow can better live today, that those who expect joy to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of new life in the center of the old, that those who look forward to the returning Lord can discover him already in their midst.”
My favorite ways to end the sufferings of now are mapped by the glory that is to be revealed. They are a step a day.
When I am done apologizing for my micro-aggressions of the day, I find some micro-kindnesses and dust them off. I might send a friend’s resume around again. Or make supper for my favorite single mother. Or take up a long conversation with the person who said she had already done too much. I might bolster and shoulder and lift. I might blow on the embers of my dimly burning sticks and see if I can get them to light. From flicker to flame? Why not?
Set our feet on your path, O God, and remind us that big fires start as little ones. Don’t let us overdo ourselves and also don’t let us underdo. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.