They’re called awareness ribbons. You see these looped symbols as bumper stickers, lapel pins, included in logos, in advertising, etc. A bit of investigating reveals there are over 1,000 causes represented by variously colored/patterned ribbons. Their proliferation is a demonstration of our caring, our support, our shared grieving. We can be oblivious to needs around us until a difficult diagnosis impacts someone close to us, or a human tragedy occurs that grabs our hearts, or we hear someone’s story of trauma or pain or deep need. It’s then, for the first time, we pause to familiarize ourselves with the now-more-personal cause and begin to consider how we might get involved. Seeing one of these ribbons attached somewhere typically indicates a person or family or community whose story includes an unwelcome encounter with the cause denoted by the color of that ribbon. A well-recognized one is pink, for breast cancer awareness. Because this is America, where the thinking is ‘if a little bit is good, then a lot is better’, a local enterprise has a stock of port-a-johns installed at construction sites, all painted bright, candy pink!

There is another ‘cause’ that exists all around us which is not necessarily visible, is most-frequently disguised, and has no color-coordinated ribbon to announce its presence. This cause, highlighted in the prayer we are considering, is soul-lostness, lives sin-pawned and still awaiting redemption. We, those who have been redeemed, are boldly asking (should we dare to pray it!) the Holy Spirit to help us love them, the ‘lost.’ Additionally, we are asking to be empowered to ‘proclaim Christ in all I do and say.’ Wowzers! These are big asks! They place us squarely at the starting line of entering into the messy stories, the painful stories, the heart-wrenching stories of neighbors and strangers and enemies. These asks carry risks. They include promised inconveniences. They invariably weigh heavily on our hearts as we extend ourselves emotionally to the hurting ones, the trapped ones, the despairing ones. These asks challenge us to embody the lifestyle of Jesus. They also expand our boundaries, stretch our thinking, discomfort our comforts, and mess with our prejudices. But we know Redemption! We know the Redeemer, who was willing to pay the price for us! We were His cause and He’s recruited us!  Acknowledging Jesus as the Worthy One is like signing on as his disciples, his ambassadors, his friends, his intimate allies. This is epic! This is tough glorious! This is Life!And best of all, we are all in this together! See y’all tomorrow at 10 AM or 4 PM, depending.  PD

ps  Here’s that prayer again. Thanks for asking!

Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to you in every way.

Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet.

Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say. AMEN.

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