“God created us because He thought we would like it,” writes Anne Lamott in her book Hallelujah, Anyway. She notes: “This stops me in my tracks. We would like it? Yes, of course we like the friendly, warm, or breathtaking parts of life. But it’s so hard for almost everyone here, the whole world over, let alone my own beloved. You cannot believe what the people I love most have lost this year. God thought we would like puberty, warfare, and snakes? I could go on and on–global warming, Parkinson’s, spiders? Yes, because in the words of Candi Staton’s great gospel song: ‘hallelujah, anyway.’ Hallelujah that, in spite of it all, there is love, there is singing, nature, laughing, mercy.”

To live our lives singing “hallelujah, anyway” means that we adopt a spiritual posture of gratitude and hope as the primary lenses through which we see the world. By no means do we become Pollyannas or bury our heads in the sand to the very real hurt, brokenness, and challenges that we face. In singing this song, we are instead reminded of God’s core goodness and energized to work for justice and peace and God’s dream of a beloved community where all experience abundant life.

As we think about the year 2020, and prepare for a (better!) 2021, I invite us to take a moment for some self-reflection: How can we see our world with gratitude and hope? For what can we be thankful and say, Hallelujah, Anyway in our lives right now? —Gray+



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