Fitting the Pieces Together

These are times when all the issues we face can seem simply overwhelming. The struggle for justice and our work for peace are needed on so many fronts and all, it often seems, at the same time. You can get to feel that your life is full of endless battles over one life-and-death question after another--battles we usually lose and ones which must take place in the middle of our personal, family, and community lives.

I often fear that Sojourners readers will become heavily burdened by the monthly litany of crucial concerns in the magazine to which the imperatives of biblical faith must be addressed. Sometimes it begins to feel like too much, and you just can't handle it all anymore.

This past summer I found myself in a Nevada jail in the middle of the desert after the August 6 prayer vigil at the nuclear test site. While sitting in the cell, I was handed a phone through the bars. On the other end was Dennis Marker calling from the Sojourners office in Washington, D.C., to tell me that the Witness for Peace delegation had just been kidnapped by the contras on the San Juan River, which runs along the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border. He asked me to come home as soon as possible.

I was immediately filled with grief and fear, and my heart quickly went out to my friends whose lives were in danger and who might have already been killed. But I also felt demoralized and torn apart, as again I had to quickly shift my thoughts and emotions from the nuclear arms race and our Nevada vigil to Central America and the war that seems endless.

This example is dramatic, but the problem is a common one. We can easily feel so scattered, tossed to and fro by events and pushed into a reactive posture by crises beyond our control. In the Reagan era, it often feels like crisis has become a way of life. To be grounded in faith, rooted in prayer, and based in community becomes absolutely essential in such a time.

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