Once again, we are struck with irrational violence in our community. Gun violence in our schools, murder by police, and an undeclared civil war in our country. I am reminded of a Daniel Berrigan quote, “We cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war (violence).” We choose guns over books, highly filtered history over honest truthful history, we struggle to find light shining in the darkness, we are afraid.
I consider myself a peacemaker, and yet I struggle with being peaceful. I have learned that being a peacemaker takes hard work, focus, and as the Zen tradition suggests, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. Or as Hildegard of Bingen wrote: “We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a hope. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”
We lost two major contributors to our collective spiritual conscience recently, Desmond Tutu and Thich Nhat Hanh. Their lights will continue to shine in darkness, as Hanh suggests:
“Let us light the torch of our awareness and learn again to drink tea, eat, wash dishes, walk, sit, drive, and work in awareness.
We do not have to swept along by circumstances.
We are not just a leaf or a log in the rushing river.
With awareness, each of our daily acts take on a new meaning, and we discover that we are more than machines, that our activities are not just mindless repetitions.
We find that life is a miracle, and we too are miracles…..A small smile naturally appears on our lips, and each second of our work becomes alive.”
(Thich Nhat Hanh: The Sun my Heart)
In the Way of Love we commit to love each other as Jesus/God loves us….to find the Holy in each other. I am, because you are….Umbuntu. It is hard in these time, and I am certain it was just as hard in Jesus’s time to love your enemy, nevertheless it is our call. Jesus gives us a plumb line to follow…if you will blessings and curses… and every day, one day at a time, we commit and and strive to follow that line.
There is no one of my brothers that I can do without.
In the heart of the meanest miser, the most squalid prostitute, the most miserable drunkard, there is an immortal soul with holy aspirations which, deprived of daylight, worships in the night.
I hear them speaking when I speak.
I hear them weeping when I go down on my knees.
There is not one of them that I can do without.
Just as there are many
stars in the heavens, and the power of calculation is beyond my
reckoning, so also there are many living souls, and they scarcely
give forth their light.
But I need them all in my praise of God.
There are many living beings, but there is not one of them with whom
I am not in communion in that sacred apex when we utter together the
On Bliss, Paul Claudel
Byron Rushing, former vice-president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church, member of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts, and civil rights activist wrote: “The resurrection did not erase the crucifixion, the power of death was overcome, but it was not made like it never happened. God gives us good news because there is bad news.”
May we learn to walk in the darkness, pay attention, love those that are hard to love, and practice resurrection.