Time to Love Riot

March 23, 2020

Checking in -- how’s everyone doing in the midst of Coronavirus craziness? 

 

I have to admit, I keep having flashbacks to “The Day After Tomorrow” and wonder how these events will change the face of our world.  My husband jokes about needing to buy more ammo so he can defend the house from the zombie/toilet paper apocalypse.  I think he’s 95% joking.

 

If I’m being really honest with myself, this run on supplies leaves me a little depressed.  Have we really been reduced to people fighting over toilet paper? 

 

I was stationed in Japan when the earthquake/tsunami and subsequent Fukushima-Daichi nuclear meltdown occurred.  I had just gotten back from Iraq a few days before and made light of the situation joking that I should’ve stayed in the war zone because it was safer.  Earthquakes are very common where we lived, and although you could tell as it was happening that it wasn’t a “normal” earthquake, we still had no idea how extensive the damage was -- the three day power outage had significantly restricted our access to the news.  I don’t remember much from that time, but what I do remember was going to the grocery store at some point after the quake.  The Japanese stood orderly in a line outside the door, patiently waiting.  When they got inside, they only took what they needed for a day or two to take care of the immediate needs of their families.  I’ll never forget the sense of humility that overwhelmed me when I realized they were doing this almost instinctually.  Chasing closely behind that overwhelming humility was borderline-shame, because in America we culturally have a tendency to riot and take advantage of businesses all on the altar of “me first.”  It’s been almost 10 years since the tsunami, and I still ask myself how on earth they taught themselves to think in a way that focuses on the collective needs of the whole. 

 

To be clear:  whatever you’re feeling today is 10000% okay.  Just be and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel.  Look at your thoughts from a place of curiosity – do some of them surprise you?  Do they really embody who God created you to be?  Do you even want to have that thought?

 

After watching this wave of fear overwhelm my community and lamenting our sin nature, I was reminded of America’s Greatest Generation and the work they did with the Allied Powers to lift the world out of darkness.  Rosie the Riveter – alongside her male counterparts – built a B-24 bomber every hour and a massive naval ship from nothing every week.  We gave up chocolate and pantyhose as part of the nation-wide ration program, because we recognized it was for the collective good of the world!

 

I know the idea of transforming our American cultural reaction to catastrophe seems like turning the Titanic. But just like one person staying home means the difference between virus containment and rampage, one person acting on the goodness of what is right can change an entire culture. The truth is:  there is so much goodness in us!  It is going to take a long time, but if this virus changes the landscape of our world like it’s projected to, this is an active goodness we can seed in our communities and pass onto our children.

 

So I’m going to choose to do what I can to re-define how we riot in times of disaster – let’s call it a Love Riot –  and I hope you will too.  I am choosing to remember the many landlords in a social media forum who are discussing forgiving rent payments for those already in financial hardship.  I am choosing to honor God with whatever resources I have to encourage those around me.  I am choosing to resist the temptation to buy more food than I need to get my family through.  I am choosing to submit to whatever way God calls us to help others. 

 

Maybe you’re so blessed financially that you can provide in financially massive ways.  Maybe your biggest love riot right now can be as small as putting back that third jar of spaghetti sauce that you know you don’t really need.  Your gift – no matter how big or small you may think it is – blesses others in ways you cannot see or imagine on this side of heaven…but God will show you when you get to heaven and He plays back the highlight reel on your life.

 

So get your Molotov cocktails ready, ladies.  God prepared you to fight and win this war one battle at a time.

 

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Romans 12:9-13  Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

 

Psalm 112: 1, 7-8  Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord.  They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.  Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.

 

Genesis 50:20  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

 

 

Photo/art credit: Banksy

 

 

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