It has been a harsh and challenging beginning to this new Year of our Lord 2021. Infections from COVID19 continue their upward spiral, political polarization and division continue to accelerate and the armed insurrection that assaulted our Capitol and our democracy continues to have aftershocks in our nation. Where do we even start to find a center — a solution — a bridge across the differences that threaten to divide us? How can we even begin to hear ourselves — much less each other — in the din that surrounds us?
We start today with these words from Bishop Steven Charleston: former Bishop of Alaska and an elder in the Choctaw Nation:
When many voices are shouting to get your attention, listen for the whisper they are seeking to silence.Steven Charleston, Facebook 1/4/2021
Today, millions of Americans are whispering. They are whispering their prayers. They are asking for things to get better, for our world to come out of the virus. They are whispering prayers that they will keep a job, or find a job, pay their bills, not get sick, take care of the kids, cover their rent, buy enough food to get through next week. They are whispering these things in hope. They are praying for justice. This is the moment when their voices must be heard.
But to do that we need to lower the volume. We do not need leaders playing to the gallery. We need them to be still, listen, and to allow the people to speak their prayers aloud.
Bishop Charleston knows that when we speak our prayers aloud we speak the truth of our common humanity … we see in each other the divine spark of love that is part of every single member of our Big Fat Human Family … and it is that spark of love that hardwires us to be in relationship with God and with each other across whatever differences challenge us. Including the seemingly insurmountable differences that challenge us in our nation today.
Let us choose this day — this New Year — to be agents of change in the high and holy work of all life healed, restored, and redeemed into the creation God intended it to be – the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven – the garden of Eden grown green again. Let us choose this day to choose love.