A Walk Through The Garden of Good and Evil

A Devotion for January 2019

“With many other words Peter warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”    – Acts 2:40

In Season three of the Coen Brothers’ series Fargo, the chief villain says that the problem is not that there is evil in the world, rather the problem is the existence of good. “Because,” he says, “otherwise, who would care? United Church of Christ pastor and author Kaji Douša responds to the villain by stating, “That goodness exists is inconvenient to evil which is bent on making no one care. But the existence of good in the world makes us care. And caring is what will save us ‘from this corrupt generation.’”

Welcome to 2019. Ours is a “generation” of single news cycle attention spans, unashamed public bigotry, and a dysfunctional government, bogged down by corruption and scandal; all played out in real time for all to watch. Sometimes it’s almost too much to bear. And if that’s all we see, if that’s all we’re watching, it could easily seem like good has been vanquished from the world. And if that’s true, if good is absent, then we’re in chorus with the villain in saying, “who cares?”

But, here’s the thing. We do care, don’t we? And as long as we care and because we act upon that caring by giving hope to the hopeless, by giving voice to the voiceless, and by loving those whom society considers unlovable; because we care, good is alive and well. We, as people of faith, are called by God to continue to watch and wait, to continue to strive for equality, to continue to bend toward justice; social justice, environmental justice, and economic justice. Perhaps, in 2019, God is challenging our generation to continue to be the church in all these ways and more.

My friends, every journey begins with a single step. Perhaps our first step, or our next step, could be one that sets us on a pathway that will lead us to a time and place where evil is overcome by good, where hate yields to love, and where caring for one’s neighbor become the norm rather than the exception. Perhaps, with God’s help, we will find our way in 2019 and beyond.

I wish you grace and peace in the coming year.

Shalom, Pastor Phil

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