Summer in Texas is harsh and unrelenting.
While last Spring was relatively mild, we knew better than to get our hopes up. Now it’s July and the sun beats down without mercy, temperatures hit triple digits, and the lush foliage of Spring becomes brown and brittle under the blast furnace of Summer. Snowflakes in Summer would be a fantasy, a pipe dream, an outright miracle.
Our world can also be harsh and unrelenting.
Tempers flare, hatred burns hot, evil boils over, and unleashed fury wreaks havoc…at the border in Texas, in a Santa Fe High School, at a restaurant in Virginia, for a black youth outside Pittsburgh, inside a newspaper office in Maryland, and within our own halls of government. Anywhere from Walmart to Washington, rage is on a rampage as our words beat down without mercy and our actions turn human life brittle and broken. Human hatred has long ago hit triple digits.
It is it too late, too unrealistic, to dream of a cooling off time?
Some of our words and actions cannot be taken back. Bullying, name-calling, and bigotry have left their mark. Psychologists tell us that those marks leave scars—like the scars of a child taken from her mother. Our national discourse is no longer marked by civility, but hostility. It is a shame that people cannot be served in a business because of their political leanings or their sexual orientation. Our conversation has become so coarse that some of our leaders resort to public phrases like this:
“… Get him the hell out of here, will you please?” “…knock the crap out of them, will you?”
“I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.” “Part of the problem… is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.”
“Boom, boom, boom. I’ll beat the crap out of you.”
I apologize for putting such words in a church newsletter, but if the church doesn’t address hate-speech spiraling out of control, who will?
Enter the Snowflake. Nearest I can tell, the word ‘snowflake’ has become a pejorative term for someone sensitive, caring, compassionate. On the political landscape, it is a label for the liberal. Politics aside, what the world needs now, in our scorching summer meltdown, is the snowflake.
Physical violence is epidemic. Rape and sexual assault are commonplace from the college campus to the national newsroom. Guns are the new arbiters to settle debates and disagreements. Hate speech spews out its venom in our daily discourse. It is hard to turn on the TV without hearing the ‘F” word. Oh, it’s bleeped out by censors, but it has become the cheap way for unimaginative comedians to get a snicker or two. Language that should get you expelled from school or kicked off the school bus will get you elected to political office. We’ve lowered our standards so far that the limbo pole is now six feet under ground. Yes, we are digging our own graves with the shovels of hate.
It is time for the snowflake. The ‘mother of all bombs’ doesn’t work. The bombardment of violence doesn’t work. The ‘F’bomb doesn’t work. Our radiators are boiling over, and it is past time for the snowflake.
How long has it been since a politician has been described as ‘gentle?’ When is the last time a piece of legislation has been praised for being ‘compassionate?’ Where in the world are negotiations between enemy nations happening that are ‘empathetic?’
That’s crazy talk in today’s brute-force, raw-power world. It’ll never work… unless you realize the wondrous power of the snowflake. The snowflake makes humanity stop for just a second to appreciate the unique, one-of-a-kind pattern in each person, each culture, each race. It brushes softly against our burning cheeks and brings a faint but enduring smile. It whispers ever so quietly its subtle song that is barely heard unless we sing along—together—in a chorus of snowflakes falling gently on our brown and brittle earth.
The world of Rome was harsh and unrelenting. The Empire ruled with an iron fist, by brute force, with a boot on the neck. Into that world crushed by crucifixions, came a Snowflake… gentle, compassionate, caring, sensitive, empathetic. It brushed ever-so-gently against the bruised cheeks and broken hearts of the world. It whispered a song of love ever so softly, that its refrain still echoes today in hushed wonder, inviting us to join its eternal melody.
The greatest mystery of all is that the Snowflake can only come by a dream, a fantasy, an outright miracle… a miracle called Grace. For every time that we trust God’s grace over warmongering and fear and the blast furnace of hate, the Snowflake will fall, softly and tenderly, on this scorched earth.
Under this summer’s harsh and unrelenting heat, let’s pray for a Snowflake. Let’s pray that all the world might be covered with snowflakes… snowflakes like Jesus.
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Alone in Berlin
Flix for Faith, July 27th 6:30pm
You’re never alone if you stand up for the truth. That simple message resounds throughout July’s Summer Film Festival movie, Alone in Berlin. This profoundly moving story set in Nazi Germany calls us to care, to reach out, and to speak up. And the best news is you won’t be alone as we break bread together for a simple potluck fellowship at 6:30pm and break out the popcorn for our 7pm movie premier. This is one movie you’ll not want to miss, and, instead of being alone, we will stand together to watch Alone in Berlin.