Pondering the Paradox

January 14, 2021

What are we to make of the dynamic tensions of life? The either/ors? The gains/losses? Few, if any, of us are not thankful to turn the page on 2020. Stark dichotomies, paradoxes, winners and losers that mark divisions and a binary way of looking at the world in the ways we have looked at the world in 2020 completely dismiss God’s work in it all. God created the oneness of all life, the interdependencies, the drive to be family and community, the call upon every creature to honor creation and all life.

We are children of the One who says, “ I am the beginning and the end, the first and the last….” The encompassing work of God’s love holds us pole to pole, year to year, through all beginnings and endings, all gains and losses. God holds all, even those things we try to use for purposes of self congratulation and adulation as if human accomplishment matters one whit. Power is illusive; it is only valuable when it benefits someone who has none. Voice is empty unless it champions the least among us. Empathy, sympathy, humility, authenticity, joy and love are the bridge that make life’s losses, life’s hurts, life’s grief even bearable.

The divisions of 2020 have become tiring and trite. Anybody can sling mud. Anybody can create chaos. Anybody can sow animus. Where are the champions of goodness? Who is leading us to green pastures? I am weary of the ugliness of 2020 both the politics and the way our country has responded to Covid. I remain confused that something as innocuous as public health could become a lightning rod of political tribalism. So much so that a third of a million Americans are dead.

I remember as a child being sad for the loss of the old year and a little anxious about the unknown of a new year. I remember asking Mother to embroider the number of the old year on my pillowcase, so I would not forget it. I don’t want to forget 2020. I think this has been a year when so many of our flaws as a nation have been exposed. It will remain to be seen if we would rather live the disruption stirred in 2020, or if we will rise up to meet our challenges with renewed vigor and hope. God’s promise is sitting right in front of us. There is so much work for the Spirit to do in our hearts. 2021 is ahead and waiting to be written. I pray the voices of hate and division will be quieted in the disarming wave of love we will bring through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us love one another, for love is of God. From the losses, let us find the gain. From the hurt, let us find the healing. From the darkness, let us find the Light that has been born among us. Amen.

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