So the other day I was driving my oldest son home in our very typical fashion of him singing along with the radio and me trying to find the most direct and efficient way home (whilst obeying all traffic laws, of course), and out of the blue he tells me that it’s hard for him to hang out with his friends.
My first thought was “oh no, he hates people” which would be devastating for me as I generally love people (unless you’re driving slow in front of me, then you better watch out). I asked him why, and he said something that surprised me. He said that his friends all “try to be cool” and litter, and he feels bad for not appreciating that and picking up their garbage after them. He feels conflicted with either picking up the garbage and looking weird doing so, or just ignoring them throwing their garbage in the schoolyard (joining them in littering wasn’t an option for him).
It was a proud moment for me thinking that my son would at least make the effort to go against the grain, to stand up for what he believes in even when it’s the unpopular opinion, and do what’s right even if it makes him look weird.
I honestly don’t know where he got that from, but I’m sure glad he got it.
Here are the readings for next week:
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Often we hear that we are called to be “counter cultural”, in that we are to not just follow the ways of society around us, but rather follow the words and examples of Jesus. But after looking at these texts (through the lens of my own theology and experience), I actually think we aren’t called to be counter cultural per se, but we are called to do what is good and right and sometimes that goes against what culture tells us to do.
All the great shifts in humanity happens with someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for what is right. The great movements toward progress begins with someone who moves past what is “just done” and does something better. The real positive change for us as people starts within ourselves, in our strength and confidence that what we are doing needs to be done.
This strength and confidence comes from Jesus, who prays for us out of love and compassion. This strength and confidence fills us, identifies us as God’s beloved children, and pushes us to do what is right without worry if culture tells us different. So we’ll pick up the garbage left by our friends, we’ll help those in need and not try to take advantage of unscrupulous situations that may present themselves, we’ll love those who the world might deem unlovable.
That is what Jesus prays for us, that is what God wills us to do, that is what the Spirit instills in us, and gives us the ability to carry out.
For we are children of God, called to do the right thing even when it goes against the flow. And we needn’t be afraid of that, for we will be provided support and community of like minded people along the way.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!