As you begin a new year with resolutions of better health, stronger finances and healthier relationships, I’d like to share the following benediction with you. I can’t prove it, but it seems to be one used by missionaries in India.
May the Lord disturb you and trouble you,
May the Lord set an impossible task before you,
And dare you to meet it.
May the Lord give you the strength to do your best,
And then, but only then,
May you be granted the Lord’s peace.
I love the first two lines. As we ask to be disturbed and troubled, we’re asking for some injustice to be put on our heart. These can be straightforward, like feeding the hungry, or more complicated like Syrian refugees. And in the second line say we’re willing for it not to be easy. Feed the hungry? Giving a grocery gift card to someone who stops by the church is easy. How do you go out and feed 100 hungry people? Or invite them in to be nourished in body AND soul? Even if they don’t look like us, talk like us, smell like us and pray like us?
Think about a year from now. Think if you spent the next 52 weeks working in earnest to do your best on an impossible task. Think of the blessings you would count during advent next year. Think of the new folks (even the smelly ones) who may be in your pews next Christmas Eve.
Spend a few days thinking of the impossible tasks in your community and what it would look like if you did, indeed, I mean really did do your best.
That would be an amazing peace, wouldn’t it?
Are you in?