Grace and peace to you and through you …
Last week I wrote about the short and simple nature of “conversations with God” as portrayed in the Gospels. They go something like this: God says, “do not fear … you are favoured … now live my vision of a new society in which everyone can know that they are priceless”. In other words live life so everyone may know they are favoured and have nothing to fear. I concluded by saying that to honour this conversation with God will demand much contemplation and much action on our part: Contemplation, i.e. trustfully sitting in the knowledge of our fear-expelling-favour and action in our daily reshaping of the structures of society to value the pricelessness of all people. It will include silence and raising our voice. It will include stillness and marching. It will include a profoundly personal exploration of self and a serious analysis of society. It will be personal and political and discovering that they are inseparable. Which brings me to the elections.
Last week we had the privilege to vote. It is a privilege to participate in how society is shaped without having to kill the person who thinks differently to us. This is the great gift of the social experiment we call democracy. Shaping society without killing people who want to shape it a different way to us. Now voting doesn’t provide all the solutions, as Judith February says, “it merely provides the space to find them”. That is what we did last Wednesday. By voting we created the space to work out solutions without killing each other in a winner-take-all frenzy.
Now for us to work out the solutions on how we do life together we are going to need to return over and over again to conversations with God. Why? Because Democracy is risky. It doesn’t guarantee that we will find the solutions. Often the space created by Democracy can be hijacked to secure power and privilege for the few at the expense of the many, as our present experience teaches us. We need to be reminded that God longs for family fairness to be fixed into the fabric of society – our laws and policies – so that all will know they are priceless – that all are favoured and have nothing to fear. The work of fixing family fairness into the fabric of society is not easy. It is difficult and dirty even as it is too beautiful to describe. It is slow and exhausting even as it gives life. It is dangerous and despairing even as it is secure in faith, hope and love.
To sustain us in this work we need to rest in the truth that we are born in love, by love and for love … and so too are those who oppose us. To be protected against cynicism we need to trust that people do not have to change so much as they have to become who they really are. To be kept from self-righteousness we must be reminded that we are all one. To be spared from despair we need to accept that we are part of a much larger story – God’s story – the end of which we may not see but the end of which we can contribute to now in the way we follow Jesus.
On Wednesday evening at 7 pm we will gather to sit in silence … to contemplate our favour … and be released of fear … to live life revealing the pricelessness of all.