A friend of mine asked me, yesterday, if I had a word for these anxious times, this election day. Here is what came to me first:
In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress I would suggest spending some time in nature. It might be taking a walk in the neighborhood, a hike in the woods or on a trail or it might be looking out your window or sitting on your balcony or back porch. I have a phrase I have used in my poetry a couple of different times. It is “take beauty personally”. Slow down, take some deep breaths and pay attention. What is calling you to notice. It may be a flower, a tree, a bird song, the sound of water from the sea or a fountain. Whatever it is, take it to heart, a message from God, the earth, or the universe that you are beloved. Find a way to let go of what is troubling you and receive the peace and love that you need.
When I was a young person coming back to faith in Jesus in the mid 70’s I was taught I had the answers to the questions of life. My experience as I traversed different parts of the world and met different kinds of people that this was not all together true. Yes, my young life had changed as I made following and learning about Jesus a priority, but I had a lot to learn from the people I met. Yes, I could offer prayers and encouragement from my perspective and I did see people encouraged, and even recovered from sickness. Yet, I learned to be quick to listen, slow to speak. Well, I had to be, because I was learning a new language! One of the many gifts of learning a new language. I also was learning and seeing beautiful things in the culture and people around me that I had not learned in my own culture. I learned to look for what good things God was already doing in a person’s life and in their culture. I learned to affirm those good things. Of course every culture has it’s light side and dark side, including my own. Now as I look back on those early years I think it was arrogant and naive to believe I had all the answers. Is it possible that Christians are hoarding Jesus? Saying and teaching that the way I interpret his life and teaching is the only way seems a bit narrow and exclusive. As if I know all the mysteries of Christ who died for the sin of the world, the very same who is reconciling all things, all people, all creation to himself. I do believe those points. I just don’t pretend to know what they mean exactly or how it will happen.
Here in the form of a poem are some reflections from Mark 9:38 – 41 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me…”