True to form, as I ponder the end of 2011, I am trying really hard to see through its difficulties to the lessons that were presented to me. Again, true to form, I also trying hard to resist the genetics of my Irish heritage that predispose me to the belief that somehow I deserved all the difficulty thrust upon me, and still objectively try to redeem my personal disasters by searching through the rubble to find pearls of wisdom. In this simplest example, while I certainly know I am responsible for the disregard of my bodily temple enough to incapacitate my immune system so that is was ripe for a heinous virus that sent me over the edge and the additional five pounds and more slack musculature that developed during my convalescence, I will place no blame or guilt on my already overdeveloped sense of morality. Feeling truly rested for the first time in awhile and more respectful of my limitations was the silver lining. This year I learned that I cannot do everything, and when I try I will suffer for it. I also learned that weakness is more of a human trait than a choice, and paradoxically with that realization came greater strength. Now on a larger level, it is much more difficult to find sense and my place in the mess. The personal lessons I can learn from all the destruction…from Mother Nature, to the Global economy, from the deposing of dictators to the disregard of collegial behavior in our own government are far more allusive.
While my ability to affect change on a global level might be limited, my ability to understand it isn’t, so that is the best place for me to start. With understanding, comes the ability to see a situation more clearly, and not fall into hopelessness and fear. There are plenty of experts in climate, finance, foreign policy and problem solving out there to help us understand our situation without vilification of any one thing in the process. And while Beelzebub may be real, I think the evidence of humanities hand in our present predicament is far more compelling than the devil orchestrating any shenanigans afoot, which of course also means that the rescue part isn’t up to God..leaving me to conclude that our greatest need right now is to find a leader who can help us shatter the illusions that are fed to us every day by those who are less concerned about the truth, but more about absolving themselves from responsibility and finding a suitable scapegoat. The thing is, once the great sacrifice was made and the gift of grace was bestowed, we inherited everything we need to build the kingdom on earth. The chains of hell were broken and heaven opened up. So what is the problem, where is the Kingdom? I say with the greatness and privilege that was bestowed comes an even greater responsibility…one that certainly has been shirked as of late.
While each of us is weak, the spirit can make us strong…invincible, as scripture tells us. The paradox as I understand it means that it is only by embracing the weak part, and fully seeing, without illusion, how an individual weakness is manifested in our lives is the only way to really activate the gift of grace. That may raise a red flag theologically, but I know too many people who have claimed the “gift of the spirit” who are, well, underneath the facade….HORRIBLE PEOPLE. The caps may be cheesy, but I can’t explain it any other way, the work of the spirit is nullified by ego and arrogance. There are more Christians in the world than any other religion, and yet genocide, sexual crime and all other forms of violence are on the up-rise. I will not blame the Muslim nation either, while a few madmen have wreaked havoc there is enough evidence of evil within the walls of the Christian Church. The clue lies in Jesus last commandment…”They will know you are my disciples by how you love one another” That not only includes all the traits listed throughout scripture…like love is patient and kind, but it also means that the action of loving, displaces all fear…since fear has to do with punishment. So next time when you listen to any leader, measure their behavior by what Jesus commands. Knowing that each of us is weak is a simple human truth, faith can move us to a greater strength if we can shatter the illusions that hold us back. Every person is worthy of it, not just those who fit the traditional description. Love will never be confined by our definition of it, rather the chains of our confinement are broken by love. Then, fear will subside and we can move freely toward the Kingdom of God.