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 Our call is not to fix everything.  Our call is not to make things right.  Our call is to care and to share and to be the hands of Christ in the world. 

Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
Sept. 25, 2005


The antidote for 'compassion fatigue'

After 9-11 four years ago,  I heard a lot about what people were calling "compassion fatigue."  I am beginning to hear that again.

What they are saying is that people just get tired of hearing about all the devastation and misery.  They get tired of being asked to give money and to help.  They just stop caring.

I don't think that is really what is happening, at least not this time.  I think that sometimes we just see problems that are too big for our resources, and we know we cannot manager even with all that is happening to attempt to care for people.

But for those of us who are Christian there is always another way to look at it.  Our call is not to fix everything.  Our call is not to make things right.  Our call is to care and to share and to be the hands of Christ in the world. 

But first we stop and hear the psalms call, "Be still and know that I am God."  And know that we are not God.  In the past when people said they thought that the task looked overwhelming, I told them that if there were no God they might be right.  If we believe that we are called to do it all and to fix it all and to be God, then we are right to despair.

But if we know that the Creator of the Universe is still in charge of it all, then we simply go about the task of doing what we feel called to do knowing that the power of God is with us.

In the midst of it all, take time to strengthen your faith.  I keep in front of me the image of the nurses in Charity Hospital singing with their patients.  Their faith was strong because it had been nurtured in worship and song before this disaster hit, and their singing reinforced it for themselves and gave hope to all for whom they cared.

We are never called to do God's work alone.  We do it with our neighbor and we do it with God.

Lord, Give strength to us when we get tired and hope when we get discouraged.  Renew in us the joy of being a part of your work in this world.  Amen


Copyright (c) 2005, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.