Jeopardy - Monday Musing, August 16, 2021
Jeopardy: danger of loss, harm, or failure. The word jeopardy permeated the news this past week: the iconic television game show names a permanent host; the Census Bureau releases data, pointing to significant voting districts changing; the Taliban is rapidly taking control of Afghanistan, risking the stability of the country now that American troops are exiting; COVID-19 infections are increasing in areas of the country reluctant to get vaccinated, thus putting at risk even the vaccinated because of developing variants of the disease; state governors are issuing prohibitions against children wearing masks in school, and local school districts worry this could impact safety; the Senate approves an infrastructure bill, but the House may not approve because progressives and moderates can’t come to an agreement, thus railroading any infrastructure bill from passing Congress; many states are passing laws to curb voting in an effort to stop “voter fraud,” thus disenfranchising targeted groups; and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues its most dire report yet, which blames humanity for nearly all of the increase in global temperatures observed since the Industrial Revolution.
These are just a few of the issues that caught my attention this past week. No doubt there are other topics that could be added to the list, but the developing theme I see is jeopardy. A recent newspaper article reads: “A code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.” How should people of faith respond to dire news? Stop watching the nightly newscast (hear no evil)? Stop reading the newspaper or Facebook news feeds (see no evil)? Or pray that such “political” topics not be addressed in church, wanting to see and hear “happy” messages (speak no evil)?
Last week I asked whether we as a church were doing enough to help others. It’s only been a week and the news hasn’t gotten any cheerier. If anything, this has been an incredibly disheartening week. Visions of Howard Beale screaming in the 1976 movie, Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” come to my mind. But what are we to do?
The Psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” (Psa 46:1-3).
As difficult as it may be, rather than express our own inner frustrations, channeling Howard Beale, we might pause and acknowledge that despite all that is going on in our world, God is ever present with us. We are a people of faith who believe in the resurrection, so all is not lost. My prayer is that we stay connected to one another, seek wisdom and understanding, and act collectively as a united community of faith. Our job is not to solve the world’s problems. Our job is to spread the Good News in this community. So I invite you to live-out our faith and participate in acts of love in our faith community, as we are able – we don’t want our faith to be in jeopardy. See you in church!