Dear Fellow Saints and Outcasts,
It feels like there is so much that has already happened in 2020. Then to think, that it is likely that we noticed only half of what happened around us. Here we are into the second month in a new calendar year, a new decade and a new Chinese Year. As we slide into the year of the rat, we have already lived and held remembrance of a lot.
The reality is, that much new can feel overwhelming and even disorienting. It is not a new realization, but a clearer realization that life is always changing, moving forward and evolving. Then some things repeat, with different names and different circumstances, which makes me wonder; is that really evolving? Does that come down to not being awake enough to hear or see or understand what is happening?
This comes into awareness as we paused, January 27, on the Holocaust Day of Remembrance. Which is the day is actually the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. This also fell a week after Martin Luther King Day in the US, which was the day of his birth. All just before entering February, which is Black History Month in the US.
There is so much I think I could put here, with lots of words and examples, but get caught on the idea and concepts of moving forward in time, space and life in general. I also recognize we all have our own views of where things have been and where they are going. This almost paralyzes me in pondering thought of the possibility of missing a truth about a part of our society.
Throwing all need for perfection aside and the illusion of having it all figured out, I paused on the differences of faith and perseverance or even tenacity. In the perception of new, of rebirth and how we still we say “we are afraid of change”, while the Bible tells us again and again how we find ourselves by being reborn and to not be afraid. Take a moment and look at John 16:21, Luke 1:13, Psalm 113:9 and Romans 8:22, at the references they hold of not to be afraid, pain, uncertainty and unifying presence. All in the reference of childbirth.
This takes me back to what the role of faith is inside of uncertainty. Much like Moses crossing the Red Sea, being one of those moments of moving through faith. It was faith that took the courage to keep moving through such uncertainty. They knew where they had left and the lack of inclusion and safety. That if those fleeing for their safety returned they were sure to die, if they paused too long, they would die and they could not distract themselves by turning left or right. It was much like the act of childbirth, with only one way to go. In such similar ways, if we get distracted from our compassionate faith or become afraid of inclusive change, that is a death. A loss of growth. That is when faith of a new way of life helps us to continue moving forward.
Faith is where we find our center and strength. Faith is also where we find who we are inside the universe. In that universe, faith is what centers us and strengthens us in a way that unifies us within compassion. It does not always feel compassionate, but as Fr. Richard Rohr explains it, faith is moving through “Order-Disorder-reorder” and is where we grow. That is faith in moving toward a new way of life, where we live a compassionately driven life. Other words that can be filled in for compassion are; grace, mercy, kindness and love. What other words come to mind for compassion?
Jesus came to the earth to show us a new way of life. As we move into the Lenten season, it is a good time to look at the differences that Jesus showed us. In the arrest and sitting in the garden of Gasemene, this leaves me to ponder; is it possible to see ourselves in similar non-violent actions of not trading an eye for an eye or helping meet the needs of those seeking a new way of life.
The demonstration of also still loving oneself in the adversity, of not owning the hate others try or have tried to impose. In knowing that God loves us. How can we through the season of Lent, beginning to let go of those expectations that portions of society may hold of us as outcasts and saints? How could these limitations we let go of, change how we live and those around us live? Who can we lift up and empower along our journey through faith?