Yes, “what the world needs now, is love sweet love,” but let me also add that we all need to learn to see and understand what lies before us, and to discern what is important and what is not. I open myself to accusations of being “snarky,” but I sincerely believe that one of the pitfalls of our culture is the assumption that if I perceive something to be important, it must be! If you do not see it as important, then YOU have a problem and you are being mean!
Learning to discern the chaff from the wheat is a sign of maturity. A few examples: Early morning walk with Abby (after a heavy rain the night before) revealed the most beautifully intricate spider web spun between two posts. A lovely sight, yes? Maybe not so much when one looks at the entire structure and sees one truly large (power forward .. Alien III .. capable of eating Cleveland in one large gulp) spider waiting to attack the next visitor. Or this: my brother and sister-in-law recently (3 weeks ago) moved from Rockport, Texas (you know, the ground zero landing site for Hurricane Harvey). But they were involved in some annoying exchange with the person who had already just purchased their home since she had “discovered” that certain tiles in one of the bathrooms were not all in a straight line and so wanted some rebate! And as of this writing, that house itself might now be located somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico!
The point to all this is simply to remind myself, and any reader, of our need to (a) look at the entire picture before making judgments and (b) discern what is truly important from what may in effect be trivial and non-essential. Just because something is important “to me” at this moment does not guarantee that it is in fact important and worth our emotional energy while truly important issues remain unattended. Parishes can fall into such traps. So can entire Churches. Do we as a community bear witness to Jesus or should we be large and popular? The more I read the scriptures, the more I believe we are going to have to make that choice!
If there is one virtue for which we Christians ought to pray, let me propose that it be “discernment.” Lord show me the entire picture with its implications before I make any decision. Lord, let me appreciate whether this issue is truly important or merely a passing annoyance. The world surely needs “love,” but I believe we may need discernment even more.