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Tend to your Soul

Last week I had the privilege of being one of the spiritual directors for the Sojourners Summit, their annual gathering in DC of leaders from around the country and the world who are working to bring more of God’s kingdom to this country and this world. Among many things that were impressive to me was the commitment that Sojourners has not only to social action, but also to the soul care of activists. Hence, they provided spiritual direction for any of the participants who felt the need for it.

The conference was centered around “The Construct of Race”, and how it relates to an all-too-wide variety and the all-too-deep expressions of injustices that show up in mass incarceration, criminal justice, environmental degradation, immigration, education, and many other areas of critical concern. It is true, the human construct of “race”, which in our country had a lot to do with justifying slavery, has and does drive a myriad of expressions of injustice that leads to the diminishment of life for too many image bearers of God, and too often leads to their literal death, be it swift or slow.

To fight against the forces of evil that seek to destroy life–“Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5.8)–is as brutally tiring as it is critical.
There was a poignant moment (among many) near the end of the conference, when a panel was asked the question “What do we need to do?”. One of the panelists, Deeohn Ferris, has been in the trenches a long long time. She said, “Before I answer that, I just need to tell you that I’m exhausted. Please pray for me.”

In the lives of those seeking a better world for others, and especially those least, the last, and the left-out, this is not uncommon. It’s not uncommon for anyone taking on big problems for the sake of a better life for others to feel tired, whether we’re working for God’s Kingdom through direct social action, or through our jobs, or through our service, or through our words, or just carrying the heartache of the world in our own hearts because we refuse to ignore the pains of the world.

Are you working hard for the Kingdom of God? Are you conscientiously confronting the brokenness of the world with the redemptive power of God and the message of hope in Jesus? Are you tired?

Seek out a spiritual director. Take a personal spiritual retreat. Tend to your soul. It’s the only way to sustain that “long obedience in the same direction”.

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