Yesterday, I posted "Jesus Weeps", a rather stark and bleak grieving lament on our current situation and the sobering observation that it is us as the true owners and sovereigns of this polity, not just the wicked among us, who are creating this world. I promised today a message of hope and love. I want to use again the image of Jesus and other teachers and bringers of peace such as Reverend King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Thich Nat Hahn (the amazing Vietnamese Buddhist monk and nonviolent peace activist whom King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1965).
Bur first, this: the very fact that our collective decisions got us here is the firmest ground for our hope to change and heal our world. If we are the ones who caused it, we are the ones who can change it.
Beyond that, the basic message of hope comes from two places: (1) the inevitability of the triumph of good as long as we perform the (2) dedicated, persistent work and action toward achieving the good. Some of the comments to Jesus Weeps noted that grieving is not enough and the must act. I agree. But I also believe that facing the horrors we created and acknowledging our role in the creation and then REALLY feeling the pain of those horrors is essential to igniting the deep fire of determination needed to work as hard as it takes to change, correct, and heal our society.
What would Jesus have done when faced with our world? My humble belief is that he would have wept and marched forth to change it, to bring healing and peace to all of us. Notice, I did not say he would have wept, then gone to work. He would have worked right through the tears and grief (which is exactly what he and King and Gandhi and so many others have done) and that is what we have to do. Call this the left-wing version of WWJD (WWKD, WWGD, etc.).
Good will prevail.
I am about to get all spiritual on you, but first, think of some real world examples. (Thank you Marianne Williamson) Hitler lost the war. He prevailed for a time because good people did not act in time, but before children born in 1940 got their first gray hairs, Germany was one of the most peaceful, prosperous and equitable nations on earth. Same for fascist Italy and imperial Japan. The Soviet Union collapsed and popular sovereignty returned to many of its former satellites. The bubonic plague and the great Spanish flu epidemic ended, even though we lacked a medicinal cure. Every storm has always passed.
Several states have recently overcome a determined and temporarily successful homophobic movement to pass laws granting civil unions to same sex couples. Populist democrats were elected in several very conservative states in 2006. The occupation of Iraq went from wildly popular to wildly unpopular simply by people seeing some of what it is doing to people and costing us (though lack of action has kept us there). Just this year a black man, who at birth in 1961 would have been assigned a separate seat, restroom, and entrance 'round back, won the Democratic presidential primary in every single Deep South state and leads nationally.
Yes, people worked their tails off and many died to make all of this happen, but that's exactly the point. With sufficient effort for good, evil cannot continue to exist.
Spiritually, it is said the cure for darkness is the shining of the light. The dark simply cannot exist when light is shined on it. This has been shown repeatedly all over the world.
But I also believe that our hope also lies in a deeper spiritual insight. I promised yesterday to give it to you straight from my mind and heart and I will continue to do so today. Peace Brother posted an article Friday on OpEd News in the Life, Arts section called From "A Course in Miracles": Defenselessness is Strength. That opened the door for me, thank you, Peace Brother. A Course In Miracles begins with what is to me the most powerful insight for spirit-based hope:
"Nothing real can be threatened.
"Nothing unreal exists.
"Herein lies the peace of God".
A Course goes on for 700 wonderful and deep pages on what is real and unreal, but to oversimplify greatly, it comes down to this: Love is real; all else is illusion and will ultimately yield to love. You are in reality spirit that has chosen to occupy a body for the benefit of the experience spirit can only have through flesh and earth. Spirit is invulnerable.
Now, it is important to understand how religion is different from spirituality. (I don't much like that word either, but I don't know what else to use here.) Christianity and Islam have it exactly the opposite: we are bodies with spirits that are forced to live in this awful fleshy place to determine whether we will spend eternity in heaven or hell. Spirit blesses flesh and the earth as a sacred vessel in which to experience holy grace. Religion (at least Christianity and Islam) view the flesh and the earth a necessary evil to be transcended or burned in. These religions long for the end of the earth and its evil, not its preservation as eternal holy ground.
Sorry for the digression. It is very important to understand that love in this spiritual sense includes all the synonyms we tend to use in its place: peace, joy, hope, charity, generosity, empathy. And love sometimes means quite firmly and forcefully saying "No, you will not treat me or anyone else this way, and I will stand in your path and shine the light on your harmful behavior until you change and return to love yourself."