More and more, I am convinced how little our politicians, in this country and in the world, can do for us ordinary people. We are the ones who spread the good news of love and forgiveness, not merely by words, but by our interactions, our interconnections with our neighbors, whether we know them well or not.
Despite terrifying acts of violence we can still choose our response: to pray, to restore, to heal.
By creating us in His image, God has shown us His deep and abiding love. Together, we can outweigh, and outlast, all that distorts this image.
Stephen Gould captures this idea most eloquently:
“Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ”ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.
“We have a duty, almost a holy responsibility, to record and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses, when an unprecedented act of evil so threatens to distort our perception of ordinary human behavior” Stephen Gould
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him,along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. Luke 8:1-3
As I read this passage, I am struck at how “impossible”, by human standards, the spread of Christ’s Good News of the Kingdom of God was. Such an ordinary, insignificant, powerless group of followers, including women who apparently contributed “from their own resources. Only the Son of God could have brought us this Kingdom and made it endure.
An we also, mere specks in the vast human population, can bring this same good news by how we speak and share and live.
“There’s no place to go to find God and no place not to go…Everyday life is where God is most active and where holiness is to be found. As Jesus Christ said, ‘the Kingdom of God is within you.’ Luke 17:21”
Fr Thomas Keating
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
The total eclipse in Eastern Oregon—a once in a life time event. Many people prepared for years to come here, or to other locations which were in the path of the totality. I spent fifteen months planning how Meg and I and our sons and their wives would view it. I scouted locations, organized gear and food for six people, developed contingency plans in case of clouds or fire.
As the moon began slowly to erase the sun, we waited in awe and wonder at what was in store for us. The air grew chilly, the light dimmed, a planet shone in the sky, 360 degrees of sunset surrounded us. Then came a deeply hushed silence followed by joyful shouts as the sun vanished and only its corona shone forth.
I thought about this unique life event during the week and I experienced an epiphany. Each of us, no matter where in the world we live, will know such a unique event. Not to be morbid, but to be joyful—we will die, leave our finite, worn out bodies, and be joined with the Lord through Jesus Christ. His love will shine beyond any darkness we have experience, and His gentle, loving light will invite us into His eternal Presence.
sun gradually gone
world chills, sunset comes, darkness
yet light still remains
For those of you who have followed my earlier posts this week, you know that Meg and I celebrated our upcoming fiftieth wedding anniversary by inviting our sons and their wives to join us on Dooley Mt in Baker County to camp and watch the solar eclipse. We enjoyed many memorable moments, highlighted, of course, by the total eclipse itself.
Our location gave us one of the longer times of totality in Oregon—2 minutes and 4 seconds. Nonetheless, what seemed like an eternity of build up was over way too soon.
I had expected to be overwhelmed by totality. Yet, the sudden drop in temperature as totality approached remains an equally vivid memory It reminded me of our deep dependence on the sun’s warmth, and the consequences of its loss.
And I thought as well of our dependence on the Son’s Presence. Without Him, our lives lack focus and assurance and deep peace, comfort, and strength. The sun sustains us physically; the Son sustains us spiritually and emotionally.
And I also realized the deep meaning of light in the darkness. Even though the moon covered the sun’s disc, the bright corona still remained visible. The sun light, and Son light cannot be overcome!
“I am yours for all eternity. I am the Alpha and the Omega; the one who is and was and is to come. The world you inhabit is one of constant change—more than your mind can absorb without going into shock. Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly, in spite of modern science’s attempts to prolong life and youth indefinitely. I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever.
Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side. When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step. You have nothing to fear, because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. 27 But you are always the same; you will live forever. Psalm 102:25-27
“Say you are in the country, in some land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down into some dale, and leaves you there by some pool or stream. There is magic in it….Yes as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.” Herman Melville
“God the sculptor of the mountains; God the miller of the sands. God the jeweler of the heavens; God the potter of the lands. You are womb of all Creation. We are formless, shape us now.” John Thornburg