For the past several years, around October, I start thinking and praying about a spiritual emphasis focus to guide me through the upcoming year. This past autumn, however, has been extraordinarily busy, and the matter didn’t cross my mind until November 8th, while watching the morning news.
Headlines that morning centered on the massacre at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
Another senseless, tragic shooting!
How could this happen AGAIN?
I watched as Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, answered reporters’ many questions. The sheriff spoke with utmost professional competence and composure but was unable to hold back tears when remembering his colleague and friend, Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the victims of the horrific crime.
My heart ached for so many, including this sheriff who said he was retiring the next day. Instead of recalling joy-filled celebration, this man’s retirement will be marred by memories of a final horrendous event.
One comment in Sheriff Dean’s interview grabbed my attention. He told about going to the local Jewish synagogue following the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which had occurred in Pittsburgh a couple weeks earlier. I cannot quote his exact words, but the Sheriff relayed his conversation with the local rabbi in which he told the religious leader, we MUST find a way to love one another.
Immediately, I realized the sheriff’s conversation with the rabbi was going to frame my 2019 spiritual focus.
Often, I feel so insignificant. The morning of November 8th was one of those times.
What difference can I make in a world that’s filled with so much pain, tragedy and hatred?
It’s a question to which I have no answer, but I know it’s a question I plan to explore.
I don’t want to sound ‘Pollyannaish,’ but somehow it feels my starting point to find a [better] way to love one another will not happen by focusing on what is broken and who is wrong. Instead, it’s found by exploring with realistic honesty a passage of scripture. Philippians 4:8 & 9 encourages believers to concentrate on:
What is true?
What is honorable?
What is right?
What is pure?
What is lovely?
What is admirable?
What is excellent?
What is worthy of praise?
If you’ve never considered choosing a one-year spiritual focus, I’d like to encourage you to ponder the possibility. The beginning of a new year is a great time to begin.
Blessings to each of us as we consider ways to love one another…