Mahatma Gandhi and Michael Jackson may not have much in common, but I credit them both for sharing this insight. Michael said that if you want to change the world you've got to start with the man in the mirror. He rightly understood that change begins with me. If I want the world to be a better place then it begins with me being a better person. Better in whatever arena I find my current challenges to be. Better in the way I treat myself. Better in the way I treat my fellow man. Gandhi said the same thing in what is one of my all time favorite quotes: "Be the change you wish to see in the world". In our pursuit of our best selves, in our pursuit of God, this profound truth rings clear. It speaks precisely to the realms over which each of us has control. I can add honesty to the world by being a more honest person. I can add compassion to the world by being a more compassionate person. I can change the world in the direction of my highest values. I have it in my power to make the world more generous, more kind, more forgiving, more playful, more beautiful, more...you name it! And you have this power too. Go and do likewise.
I'd like to say a few words about the Gospel, and by a few words I mean two. The two words I'd like to say are "You're in". This is the Gospel, this is the good news.
"You're in" describes the orientation that God has toward you. No gymnastics, no penance, no grovelling, no flagellation, no creedal litmus test of any kind. You are welcome in the presence of God exactly as you are.
If you are familiar with the story of the prodigal son you will remember how the father responded when he saw his son returning home. He ran with mad delight toward his son to welcome him home. This is how God sees you...always...full-throttle, belly laughing, sandal-flopping sprint to meet you. This is the nature of God. This is how God sees you. This is the Gospel. This is the good news.
As the sun sets on the last day of 2013 I extend an invitation to you to join me in conversation. It is my hope that as we move into the expansive space of the new year we will move toward greater closeness and intimacy with each other. I envision us sitting in a cozy booth in our favorite pub, sharing stories and exploring the possibilities for growth in the year ahead. I invite you to join me in this warm conversation and to write to me on any topic of interest or concern. Then as close friends, we will explore the subjects we care about together. Good things lie ahead and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share in them with you. So, I'll leave you with a poem to meditate on and then ask you to take a moment to reflect, then click on the Contact tab or post to my Facebookpage and our conversation will begin!
New Year Resolve by May Sarton
The time has come To stop allowing the clutter To clutter my mind Like dirty snow, Shove it off and find Clear time, clear water.
Time for a change, Let silence in like a cat Who has sat at my door Neither wild nor strange Hoping for food from my store And shivering on the mat.
Let silence in. She will rarely speak or mew, She will sleep on my bed And all I have ever been Either false or true Will live again in my head.
For it is now or not As old age silts the stream, To shove away the clutter, To untie every knot, To take the time to dream, To come back to still water.