Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4. 8-9
Every morning I wake up and the news is enough to send me back to bed. The national and global barrage of information about natural disasters and human hatred is mind-boggling, and our unending political disagreements and disarray only adds to the stress in our lives. That, of course, doesn’t include the personal challenges of family and friends. I actually believe that many people today are living with a persistent low level of depression that causes them to feel constantly overwhelmed. I believe the decline in worship attendance, participation in civic organizations and voting is the result of the state of our current cultural malaise.
What is a person to do? Well, as you might imagine, I have a few suggestions. Mind you, I am writing to myself as much as to you. First, I suggest that we limit the number of hours we spend watching the news. I believe that we should be informed about what is going on in our world, but when the 24-hour news cycle is broadcasting into our minds and hearts for 24-hours a day, then we cannot help but be anxious. So, watch the news for an hour then, turn it off.
Second, I recommend that we walk away from our computers and put down our phones. Many of us are reliant upon our computers for our work and our phones for communication. Still, taking a few minutes throughout the day to take a walk, listen to some music, write a note (I am here assuming that we still know how to write) or read a poem will surely restore our souls.
Third, let’s add some type of prayer or meditation to our day. It doesn’t have to be a long amount of time, five or ten minutes. That brief amount of time will not take away from our work, but will give us energy.
Of course, long ago the Apostle Paul gave us the best advice of all. Calling us “Beloved” he wrote, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Why? Because to do so means that the God of peace will be with us. Can you believe that? Our God is ready to infuse you and me with peace. Why not try it? We have nothing to lose but our despair. May it be so.
Holy One, refocus my heart and mind and soul. Remind me that you are ever with me. Teach me to think on the things that are true, and just and pure. Show me the way to your peace that I may serve you well. Amen.