I woke up early Sunday a week ago to prepare myself for the morning’s activities, centered around worship and gathering with the community of faith who I am blessed to pastor. Out of habit, I glanced at the news feed on my phone and was quickly made aware of the horrors that had taken place, just hours before, in a Colorado Springs nightclub. Five were dead, many more were wounded, another mass shooting, another attack on the LGBTQ community.
Perhaps it’s fitting that as we shift our gaze from abundant harvests and gratitude-steeped Thanksgiving tables towards the darkening winter and frenetic preparations for the end of the year, we call today “Black Friday.” For retailers eager to stem the flow of red ink, seeing the bottom line turn black is a most welcome change. For the rest of us, shorter days conspires against longer to-do lists and the mood can turn dark rather quickly.
I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. I have never owned a gun. I have gone shooting with those who know how. I even enjoyed destroying some clay pigeons one time, but my shoulder was so bruised by the rifle kickback that I’m not sure it’s a hobby I’ll take up. Still, I have plenty of friends that enjoy hunting and shooting sports and I have certainly appreciated the occasional gift of a wild game meal.
It’s so easy to make things complicated, especially when we’re looking for excuses or reasons not to do something. Overcomplicating a task, is one of the classic tactics of skilled procrastinators. Given my giftedness for over-complication, there are times in my life when I feel like I’m a particularly talented procrastinator. Lately, I’ve revisited some tried & true advice that is encouraging me to make a change.
Our reading from the prophet Micah yesterday in worship centered on the verse that is probably most well-known, certainly by those who walk into our church building and happen to gaze upwards. Micah’s encouragement to God’s people remains a helpful reminder of what God’s expectations are shaped around. And this is a further reminder that God’s vision for the human-divine relationship is not built upon the typical power dynamics that the world so often employs.