A Profound Hope

. . . we might have hope. . . – Romans 15:4

In my lectio today, these four words bubbled up.  What is it, I wondered, that I want to feel hopeful about?  The answer is that I want to hope in a great sea-change of human consciousness.  I want to believe that we will all grow beyond our desire to accumulate piles of  riches and will instead turn to one another in self-giving love.

The crushing poverty that so many experience, the hunger, the despair – the loss of land and livelihood through the ravaging of climate-change-driven natural disasters – the heartbreak of refugees roaming, uncared for, through hostile lands — it seems to me that all this could begin to be healed if those of us with wealth could find a way to let go of our unhealthy accumulation, holding nothing back.  If we understood that it is really in being sheltered in God that true security lies, the marginalization, the oppression, and the deprivation we inflict on one another could be healed.

The holidays are a tough time here in the mountain states.  People living on the streets are constantly at risk of death by hypothermia.  The working poor have to balance buying holiday presents for their children and paying the rent and the heating bill.  Trans youth who have been shunned by their families and are living rough are forced to make desperate choices: turn tricks, maybe, or commit suicide.

I think at some level we all feel the desperation in the people around us.  We might not be able to put it into words, but our hearts are heavy.  We are all connected, one in God, and so what affects one of us affects all.  But, sadly, this awareness is hard to make conscious.  It just sits there, eating away at our sense of well-being.  If we are conscious of it at all, we think we’re silly for caring so deeply for people we don’t even know.  And then we clutch even more tightly to what we have.  We hoard our resources, thinking they’ll never be enough to cover our needs should a disaster strike.

And we’re right about that, as far as our thinking goes.  There are no guarantees.  God doesn’t reach down and rescue us, put us back in our comfortable fleece-lined nests, when something bad happens.  There is really no protection from the cold.

Yet, isn’t our accumulation of money for security purposes an idol?  I think it may actually keep us from a deep reliance on God.  The sea-change of consciousness that I long for has something to do with this, I feel.  But I, myself, am not there.  It’s a little beyond me yet.

It helps to pray.  The constant prayer of breathing in with eyes focused on beauty and breathing out with gratitude is the only thing I know of that both heals the fear and grief of our collective distress and prepares a way for a new consciousness.  The world is a wonderful place: stars at night and snow crystals in the sunlight; choral music and contemplative harp song; little kids’ holiday concerts and mud puddles reflecting the heavens.  Please, God, may we experience a change of consciousness and come back to full reliance on you!

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