Tuesday, January 04, 2011
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirst for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
There are predictions that the next two years in the United States Congress are likely to be characterized by gridlock, with little serious legislation being passed. In particular, with the new composition of the House, any measures to address environmental destruction and the climate crisis are almost guaranteed to be blocked from consideration. Things were bad enough under Democratic leadership: with both parties firmly in the grip of big industry and the oil companies, Democratic majorities did not translate into serious change. Now that Republicans are resurgent, things could get much worse.
My country feels out of control, embattled and divided. The middle class is faltering as the rich grow richer and the situation of the poor grows even more desperate. Corporations are now granted most of the rights of human beings, and the level of corruption in our country is growing to proportions that I used to associate with developing nations. We have been at war for nine years. No one has suggested when the endless campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, and various unofficial fronts, might end. Under the banner of the War on Terror, a technologically-enhanced surveillance society is developing that could make Orwell's worst nightmares look quaint.
In times such as these, when it is so clear that we are out of control as a people, I need to know that a sovereign God is at the helm. With evil running amok and our planet facing horrific destruction, I need to know that there is an infinite ocean of light and love that flows over the ocean of darkness and death. I need the boundless love of God, and I need the compassionate accompaniment of Jesus Christ to help me live a life rooted and confident in that love, despite all outward appearance of evil's triumph.
I need hope of the resurrection; I need assurance of things not seen. I need eyes to see the in-breaking of God's beauty in a world that human sin has twisted and distorted. I need awareness of Christ's living presence, not only as a comfort in my grief, but also as an agent of cosmic liberation in a world that is weighed down by oppression.
I need hope so that I can carry on in the humble task of being salt and light. Nothing fancy - just table salt and candle light - but essential. I need hope in the resurrection so that I can let go of my longing for worldly power and embrace Christ's way of the suffering servant, taking on the form of a slave and emptying myself so that I can be of service to all. Rather than imitating the rulers of this world, seeking to lay hold of their power for my own ends, I pray to learn trust in Christ's living presence, so that I may surrender all dominion, power and glory to him.