Posted by: meditati0n509 | February 23, 2017

Tumultous First Month for the New American Administration

We Are Standing in the Tragic Gap

As I listen to and watch the daily news I am constantly being asked to trust, as the English mystic Julian of Norwich said, ‘that all will be well, all will be well; all manner of things will be well’.  Now this is not an exact quote but it certainly is the sentiment that she wished to convey to all of us.

There is much happening in America, in Britain, in the  EU and in the Middle East (to name just a few places) to give us pause.  None of the issues readily lead to a resolution. Our world is troubled and complex.  No one person has ‘the way’ to take care of everything; neither would they have the ability to convince others of ‘the way’ even if they had.  Wars, refugees, immigration, trade, jobs, poverty and health care are all complex issues. I feel that any solutions will only come about through respecting the right of every person to have an opinion.  We may not agree with some opinions but we can still work together to find common ground, and workable, practical paths to resolve some of the problems – and relieve some of the suffering.

Coming back to the trust I mentioned earlier –  Echart Tolle has often said that ‘the whole universe has brought about this situation just as it is.’  So we need to embrace ‘what is’ – the situation before us and only having accepted this moment just the way it is can we begin to see a way forward.

Standing in The Tragic Gap

Parker Palmer in his book ‘A Hidden Wholeness’ talks about ‘Standing in the Tragic Gap’  between ‘What Is’ and the ‘Way we would like things to be’: –

“The bad news is that violence is found at every level of our lives.  The good news is that we can choose nonviolence at every level as well.  But what does it mean, in specifics, to act nonviolently?  The answer depends on the situation, of course, and a thousand situations might yield a thousand answers.  Yet running through all of these answers we will find a single “habit of the heart”: to be in the world nonviolently means learning to hold the tension of the opposites, trusting that the tension itself will pull our hearts and minds open to a third way of thinking.”  

“In particular, we must learn to hold the tension between the reality of the moment and the possibility that something better might emerge . . . 
. . . The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap – a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be.  It is a gap that never has been and never will be closed.  If we want to live nonviolent lives, we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility in hopes of being opened to a third way.”
(pp. 174-175;  ‘A Hidden Wholeness’ by Parker Palmer.)

An Invitation

Friends, I want to issue an Invitation.  Will you stand in the tragic gap with me?   Some of us have spoken (long distance – over SKYPE)  about forming a group of friends who will hold the tensions of these times –  with compassion and hope in meditation and prayer.  All are welcome.  The bottom line is respect for everyone in this whole world and living as Jesus taught us ‘to be in the world but not of the world’ in the sense of being engaged in our activities in the world, for the  greater good, and by not taking part in the violence- even in our thoughts or with our spoken words.   All people, all nations, all religions are worthy of respect. One friend in America suggests we might begin by meditating on the following passage from the Hebrew  Scriptures.

Today’s Headline – Tumultuous first month for the new administration

Wisdom –  Micah 6: 1-8

“Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Reflection: Loving God, we live, as always, in a time of false prophets.  Let us forsake the ways of anger, judgementalism, and despair. Help us to open our heart to your light, to hope, to right relationship to you.  Help us to stand for truth without name calling, without attack, without venting rage and hurt. Help us to reflect your light and love.  Amen.

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