But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NRSV)
Have you even begun to appreciate the fantastic feats of triumphant, glorified living that you and your fellow humans accomplish on a regular basis?
As much as I harp about our God-given belovedness, and while I love my neighbor to pieces, on occasion some humans will drive me almost to despair with their … oh, how shall I put this? … crass inhumanity.
But then. Just when I am tempted to give up on the entire human enterprise, I am gobsmacked all over again by the utterly spectacular resilience of the human-divine spirit we carry around in these gorgeous, if short-lived, clay jars of ours.
How, when my friend’s UU church was picketed during Sunday services by protestors proclaiming Jesus would send LGBTQ-loving Unitarians to hell, the entire congregation went outside and sang “We Shall Overcome.” How an open-hearted 17-year-old ditches the cool factor and prays out loud for peace, right in front of everybody. And how my friend Bob, recently diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer, is giving his grandchildren “jobs” so they will feel needed and connected when the going gets tough.
Do you have any idea how amazing you are? Do you know how much power for good you have? You’ve got this, by God. Carry on.
Thank you for giving us extraordinary power and plenty of opportunities to use it. May we give you the glory.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.