In James, the "religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (1:27).
What if being safe and listening the CDC guidelines is not an act of fear at all but an act of love?
Sometimes we feel like the world is falling apart. Like the disciples panicking in the storm, we look at the waves and wind and wonder when the boat will sink.
Christian anticipation does more than look ahead--it looks behind at what Jesus has already done to save us, once and for all. Anything we could ever ask for has already been done, so we know our hopes will be fulfilled.
When we talk about sex as bad, we more deeply ingrain the idea that it is objectifying and vulgar, and we associate it with only shame. When we describe it only as sacred and private, we gloss the idol in gold, as if it were the communion bread that was sacred and not the remembrance.
Self-doubt turns me inward and tells me I'll never be good enough. But the Bible is full of stories of helplessly broken people who were used for God's glory, not because of their confidence or abilities, but because of God's power within them.
Empathy deepens relationships, fuels understanding, inspires reconciliation, unites us in our differences, and pushes us to act in love. But it is also dangerous.
We are not made to find all of the answers in our own individual experiences. When we share stories, we pile hope into an already vast collection of shared hopes and triumphs--stories of faith and overcoming despite all of the reasons to despair.