“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.” – Philippians 4:8 NRSV
It’s been one of those weeks – months actually – where all the news is bad or sad, discouraging or disheartening. Probably not all the news, but it has felt that way. I could make an extensive list. But I won’t. Some stories are widely known. Some are not mine to tell.
As central Iowans dealt with flash floods three weeks ago and tornadoes three days ago, the wisdom of Mister Rogers ran through my mind: “Look for the helpers.” Notice the neighbors, the friends, and the strangers who show up to lend a hand hauling debris, who bring food and water, who share tears and prayers. Agents of God’s steadfast love and mercy (whether they know it or not), they are out there everywhere.
Awake in the night, lamenting over the messiness and brokenness in the ordinary lives of people I know and love, the words of Philippians floated through my mind: “whatsoever things are true … pure … honest … just … lovely … of good report … think on these things” (the King James Version memorized in my childhood). “Take account of these” a footnote in the New Revised Standard Version reads. (Compare different English translations here: Phil. 4:8.)
Holy One, when the news seems all bad all the time, help me look for the helpers. Help me focus on you and your word. Amen.