We’re Not Called to Win, We’re Called to Work

Yesterday a Facebook interaction and a couple of podcasts set me into a spiral of doom. I thought on our politics and society and the Church and how we wrestle each other on such things, and I began to despair.

It’s so bad. It’s all so bad.

Trump, with his flouting of norms and rules and even the most basic measures of integrity. Republicans, with their blind devotion to man over principle. Democrats, with their stubborn attachment to abortion.

Social media, with its tendency to reward those who are most outrageous and angry. Us, with our tendency to form ourselves into mobs.

Seekers of justice who dismiss the Right as bigots. Defenders of life and family who cast the Left as villains.

Leaders of the Church who betray Truth with lies. Leavers of the Church who mistake those men for the Church herself.

So bad.

I know, of course, that there are good people everywhere. In my community, in the Church, in Washington, even – but I can’t for the life of me imagine a scenario in which this works out well. I don’t know how we’re going to fix these problems.

How can we possibly move forward? What sort of country will my children grow up in?

But ah, my children. They give me hope. They bring me joy. They make me look up from the doom. Certainly the world can’t be so bad when it contains sweet, chubby baby cheeks and 8-year-old boys who write letters to little sisters who cry because they’ve received no mail.

Image of a simple letter written by a big brother to a little sister

Outside these walls, I see so much darkness. Inside them, I see the hope of an ultimate brightness.

Yesterday afternoon, a couple of hours after I despaired at the state of the world, I saw the following in the day’s readings:

R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I believe that one day we will know kindness and truth, justice and peace. And that to despair does a disservice to God.

We are not called to win, you and I. We are not called to make permanent fixes. We are just called to work.

We are called to do whatever loving, life-giving, divide-healing, justice-seeking work we can manage. We are called to work hard, our eyes on that time when truth will spring out of the earth and justice will look down from heaven. But we should never fool ourselves into thinking (or torture ourselves by thinking) that we’re responsible for the win.

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One thought on “We’re Not Called to Win, We’re Called to Work

  1. I suspect I am to the left of most of your readership and yourself 😉 These days I feel a mix of powerless and despair. For those who have eyes to see: we are going down a very dark path. We are running concentration camps not just at the border but in various places in the US, and treating refugees and immigrants worse than convicted criminals. And I cling to another version of what you posted: “you are not required to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” I wonder how those of us without children or spouses should discern what is required of us, since we have fewer immediate responsibilities. And I pray that each of us will answer God’s call to work in spite of fear.

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