This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Dec 23, 2019
It is hard to believe that the Advent season is almost over. We have already come to the last week. During week 4, we light the final purple candle to remind us of trust. Of all of the candles we light during the Advent season, trust is the one that makes the other three matter. The only way we can experience peace, hope and joy is if we are willing and able to trust.
In this fourth week of Advent (this is the fourth article I have written on this topic), I have to admit the truth that the candles we light during Advent are for things we are running low on in our world today. Do I even need to make a case that trust is at an all time low?
I wrote this article the evening of Wednesday, Dec 18. Earlier today, I needed to return a library book. I parked my car in the parking lot of the library to run in to return the book and check out another one. It was broad daylight, early afternoon, I had just left the Rotary meeting. I was a little bit in a hurry, so I parked quickly, jumped out of the Beetle and started toward the front door. Then I realized I didn’t lock my car door. I actually went back and locked it before I went in the library.
Why did I do that? I love the Beetle dearly, but that car is 20 years old. It isn’t exactly a car that anyone is out to steal. I suppose someone could have gotten in my car while I was in the library and stole my half-empty bottle of water or my windshield scraper. The Beetle is a stick shift, and most people today don’t even know how to drive one of those! What was I worried about? It just felt wrong to go in without locking the door, even for just a few minutes.
You know what else is bad about this? I am telling you straight up, do not leave your car unlocked. My point in telling you this story isn’t to shame anyone who locks their car – it is a good idea to do so. What I am feeling bad about is that we live in a world where the only way to guarantee you can keep your stuff is if you lock it up. Is it because resources are so scarce? I had a call from a family in St Marys yesterday morning. This family had just moved here and was in need of help for Christmas gifts and food. I literally sent one email and thanks to Pastor Rick Scheer at Living Hope and Patti Hamilton at Agape, both the cupboards and the space under the tree in this home were filled before lunch. It isn’t that there is a lack of opportunity. We fear greed.
I am a news junkie. I listen to a lot of political commentary. It makes no difference which side of the political aisle you are on, there is a daily display that neither side trusts the other. Let me prove to you how much we don’t trust each other with an experiment. Read this sentence: “The people in power in the United States are corrupt.” Everyone agrees with this statement whether a Republican or Democrat. In fact, you don’t even know which side I am talking about because everyone believes their side is virtuous and the other side is corrupt. Why does disagreement mean we have to be uncivil? I just wish we could go back to “One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
I pray that the candle of trust will lead us in that direction. Newsflash: People who don’t agree with you are not automatically evil. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Trust can’t happen in any other circumstance. I am not your enemy and you are not mine. It is high time we stopped defining the world by what sets me apart from you and start focusing on what we both believe to be important.
We don’t relate to each other in disagreement; unity should be our first contact. From there, a healthy debate can grow over issues we don’t agree on and that debate should end in an embrace, not turning our back on each other. If we don’t do this, we are strangling trust right out of our lives, our community and our world.