Hawaii is open for Tourism
While listening to the radio Thursday afternoon I heard a news report about the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and the dangers of lava flows. As interesting and concerning as the lava flows are for the people who live nearby, people on the other islands are eager to let travelers know they are open for business. Tourism is an important industry for the island state. About 10,000 people have been evacuated from the areas near the volcano, and there are many more people who are safe and trying to live life as normal.
Sometimes it’s not clear what “life as normal” really means, but most of us know what it feels like to try to continue with our daily roles and responsibilities even when the people we care about are experiencing a crisis. This happens a lot in the church community. We pray for and deeply care about members who are ill or suffering some kind of loss (divorces, unemployment, disappointments of all kinds), and still, we must carry on with our lives.
I’ve heard people express their anger and exasperation when the world carries on when their lives seem to be falling apart. Maybe you’ve felt that way. Sometimes I feel that one way to honor a crisis is to continue with the things that really matter: doing our work well, caring for our family and friends, watching out for our neighbors, and worshipping God. Sometimes those same normal, worthwhile activities are ways to escape the reality of our own crises.
No matter how good things are going for us, there may be a volcanic eruption just around the corner. And, even if things are not going well for us, some of the people in our lives may be experiencing joy. St. Paul encouraged us to be content in all circumstances. “12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through God who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 12-13).
I haven’t learned to be content in all circumstances, but it is a worthy aspiration. St. Paul is correct. God is with us and that makes many difficult things bearable or inconsequential. As we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday on May 27th we are reminded that God is with us in many ways and at all times. This might be a helpful image to carry if you will be fighting Memorial Day traffic. My plan for contentment during holiday travel is to pray for those who gave their time, and even their lives, to the service of others.
Peace to you,