Photo of Peg Nagem I made a home. I paid bills, cooked, cleaned, and raised my daughter there. I gave her rules: keep her room clean, care for her rabbit, limit TV, and go to bed at an appropriate time. She could use foul language (her grandmother certainly did, generally for comic effect,) but never to hurt another person, and she couldn’t say “I hate you.” Rules were not about power or limits but to allow her a way to grow in independence and wisdom, so she could make her own home. And so she has.

God has given us a lovely home and asks that we care for it. God has given us rules for living, not to limit us, but to help us live more fully, with God and with each other. We have become unruly teenagers, leaving our home a mess and that will take thousands of years to clean. We are fighting our siblings, and sassing our Parent.

When my daughter didn’t follow the rules and would ask me for help to get back on track, of course, I helped. And gradually, she learned the wisdom of the rules.

When we despair about the condition of our earthly home, when we find ourselves at odds with our siblings of different political parties or faiths or nationalities, we can ask our Parent to fix the problem. And it is good that we do! It is also wise to expect that our Parent will ask us to participate in cleaning up the mess in our earthly home, to listen to our siblings with our hearts open. It’s how we learn. And it’s how we love the world.

For discernment:
In what ways can I participate in cleaning up the messes of political and international strife? Can I listen with an open and loving heart to people with whom I disagree?

How can I, myself, participate in cleaning up our earthly home?