Last week our world shook with the invasion of Ukraine.
And we were confronted with our sense of helplessness…
And our need for a paradigm shift. From big world to small world.
You see, the big world feels, often overwhelming and outside of our ability to change or affect change. On so many big world issues, people give up. “It’s not my problem, after all.”
But the small world (ala Joshua Bell in Monday’s Sabbath Moment) is right in front of me. And the small world invites me to be present for the sacred (even in brokenness). Which means I’m present, to see people before anxieties… people with faces and names. People with real tangible emotions, fears, exhilaration, joys, hopes and burdens. When I start with the person, I put down my labels or tendency to prejudge, now open to leaning, growing, giving, caring, healing.
Today, let’s pause. And embrace our invitation to spill light in the small world, where we can…
This from John Roedel…
I can’t make the
world be peaceful
I can’t stall tanks
from roaring down roads
I can’t prevent children
from having to hide in bunkers
I can’t convince the news to
stop turning war into a video game
I can’t silence the sound of bombs
tearing neighborhoods apart
I can’t turn a guided missile
into a bouquet of flowers
I can’t make a warmonger
have an ounce of empathy
I can’t convince ambassadors
to quit playing truth or dare
I can’t deflect a sniper’s bullet
from turning a wife into a widow
I can’t stave off a country being
reduced to ash and rubble
I can’t do any of that
the only thing I can do
is love the next person I encounter
without any conditions or strings
to love my neighbor
so fearlessly that
it starts a ripple
that stretches from
one horizon to the next
I can’t force peace
on the world
but I can become a force
of peace in the world
sometimes all it takes
is a single lit candle
in the darkness
to start a movement
“Lord, make me a candle
of comfort in this world
let me burn with peace”
Tuesday — I’m glad you join me for these Daily moments. The connection is good for my heart.
I confess that my mind and spirit races when life goes squirrelly and pain-filled (even cruel). In part because I’m wired (enticed) to decode it all, and can only move on, when it “makes sense”. Which, of course, may never happen…
So. Today I need a Pause Button, on this Ash Wednesday. To sit with three snapshots, ways to visualize, process, internalize and then find ways to sow seeds of compassion and hope. And grace.
For those who are fleeing: sanctuary
For those who are staying: safety
For those who are fighting: peace
For those whose hearts are breaking: comfort
For those who are no future: hope
“Clearly, the situation in Ukraine is front and center at this moment. The pictures, videos, and stories coming out of the country are stunning, heartbreaking, and so painful to witness. At the same time, they are also heroic and awe inspiring. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live there right now. I can’t imagine what our fellow human beings there are feeling at this exact moment. I know they are feeling fear, anger, disbelief, and confusion, for sure. And all that is mixed in with a deep determination to defend their country, which they love. In fact, their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said to the invading Russians: ‘You will see our faces, not our backs.’ He has reminded his people over and over again of their strength, their truth, and their resolve.” Maria Shriver
“These Covid years, though, asked us to face the inescapable fragility of all of our lives. Each year, Ash Wednesday asks the same. But Ash Wednesday doesn’t end with an invitation to distraction or consumer comfort. Nor does it end with the imposition of ashes. After the ashes, in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the priest asks that ‘at the last we may come’ to God’s eternal joy. Then we take Communion together, a tangible decree that ashes give way to beauty, that death gives way to resurrected life. The Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen called the hope of Christianity — the hope of Ash Wednesday — a ‘transcendent realism.’ Transcendent realism confronts the truth of the grave. And it is in this truth that the most important questions of our lives get a hearing. We need more than diversion, work and pleasure. We need deep, resonant, defiant hope.” Tish Harrison Warren
“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds—our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women.” Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.
We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.
For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.
That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.
That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.
That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.
That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares
And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.
John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
From his book, Benedictus