Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Prayer of St. Francis take two
So, we have asked/prayerfully pondered so far on questions such as...
Who/what is the Lord of life...where is your center?
How can God move through your life?
What kind of sound is your life making?
What I love about this prayer is St. Francis goes on to offer this laundry list of what peace sounds like in our lives. Peace sounds like where there is hate, we sow love. Or when someone goes low, we go high. Or when someone strikes us on the cheek, we turn the other. As much as our country confesses to follow Christ...we struggle mightily to turn the other cheek. We justify this by saying, "This isn't how the world works!" Or, "We would appear weak." Or, "We shouldn't just stand by silently in the face of abuse." All of that is true.
The world does promote might makes right...send in the military...destroy your enemy before they destroy you...never realizing that the more you destroy, the more you create the breeding ground to produce more hate/enemies. It is a vicious cycle. We have fought long wars for this very reason. We kill the father, only to create an enemy in the son. We treat the women as less than in violent ways only to leave force as the only way the daughter can know/respond. To call it, "vicious" is apropos! But to sow love plants a new garden in God's creation (which is what Easter-ing our faith is all about!).
Yes, it will appear weak according to worldly values...but not according to God's realm. God's self-giving love didn't go down swinging, but faced the cross to say, "It is finished." The "it" isn't life, "it" is all the ways of being in the world that create more violence and pain and suffering. The cross is to appease an angry God it is to hold up a mirror of what violence will get you. Namely, more violence. Namely, more enemies. Namely, that viciousness we just named above!
Finally, we shouldn't just stand by silently in the face of abuse. But to suggest that love is only some voiceless force is a bad definition. Love is active. Love will speak out. Not by pounding the table or dehumanizing the other. Love is creative and dynamic and seeks another way. Love...however... often seeks the harder way. The way of creating, through and with the still moving presence of God, a place for both us and the one who is against us. That kind of world still seems a bit fictional by some accounts...but the people who say that are the ones playing a zero sum game and are the very ones saying, "Lets buy some more bombs just in case."
To turn my toes toward peace...means the first step is in love...not toward trolling my enemies with vicious tweets or comments...not toward political point scoring...not toward being successful or even relevant with a thousand blog followers...but loving the ones I encounter everyday. Good Lord... I will need lots of help with that!
May the God who is peace and comes in peace move and mold your life toward sowing love today.