weekend and it is still simmering.
On Saturday morning I was talking with a dad in our congregation. He was telling me about his 6th grade son and the time commitment his park district football team has required in the last three and a half months. They started in July and practiced every day until school started. Then since the end of August, his team practices three days a week for two hours after school and then has a game every weekend on either Saturday or Sunday. I was shocked. I am definitely out of the loop for kids organized sports. I know for many families this is normal. This is the time demanded of only one child for one sport. This family has two other children who also have their own activities.
The more I thought about this, the more my blood boiled. This youngster is in 6th grade! That means the demands on his time will only increase as he gets older. How does a family deal with this? No wonder families are overwhelmed. They are always in motion, always moving to the next thing. When are they together? Not just in the car going to the next activity but when are they together: face-to-face, talking, listening, being?
This family was in the back of my mind this morning at church as I heard the gospel lesson for the day. It was the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. (Luke 18:1-8) A question was posed to us: where do we see injustice in our world? I immediately thought of all the families that struggle balancing the commitment required to participate in activities and a desire for family time. It is an issue of justice that our families have to sacrifice time together to be involved in extra activities.
The unjust judged is described as one who "neither feared God nor had respect for people."
Our culture and it's idolatry of busyness is the unjust judge. Our culture does not have awe for God and the stillness in which God speaks. Our culture does not respect or honor families and the time
required to deeply care for each other.
It is easy to attach blame towards "the other": parents point to coaches, coaches point to the larger organization, church leaders point to parents, etc. What if instead of pointing fingers, we all took on a piece of
the solution? What if we all had more awe for God and God's power to transform our lives? What if we all honored families and their precious commodity of time?
Who will be the persistent widow? Who will speak up every day and advocate justice for our families? When will we truly begin to honor families and their time?
While I wrestle with this, I have another picture of this same family in my mind. Today I saw them all sitting together in worship - one of the most counter-cultural things they can do. They were sitting quietly, together,
preparing to hear how God is at work in our lives. Later they would have an opportunity to turn, look each other in the eye, and share God’s peace.
This is the picture that stays with me as I hear in that same parable that God does grant justice. This family
has received a full share of God’s justice through the gift and joy of worshiping together. It was in this hour on Sunday morning that they were honored and given time to be together. So while we need to keep pleading and “bothering” for justice, we also need to remember that we all have the blessings of God’s grace right now.