God is transforming the world through us
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu were the architects of dismantling apartheid in South Africa.
Archbishop Tutu, who is the author of “God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our New Time” wrote: “There is no such thing as a helpless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos. God is transforming the world not — through us — because God loves us.”
One of his favorite illustrations was about a young physicist that made an appointment to see a priest. Before the young man sat down, he proclaimed: “I do not believe in God.” He then continued nonstop arguments to support his conclusion.
The priest answered him, “You have given a lot of thought to your belief that God does not exist, but you started in the wrong place.”
The startled young man asked the priest what was the right place to begin. The priest replied, “You should have said, ‘God believes in me, but I don’t believe in God.’ Had you done so, we would have something to talk about today.”
The young man asked, “How can we restart our conversation?”
The priest replied, “Let us pray,” and they bowed their heads.
Our daily starting point with God is prayer. It is vital to our spiritual health. Prayer, like all good dialogues, requires speaking and listening. When praying, we can go on and on and fail to pause and listen to God.
I begin my day by sitting on our screened porch listening to the sounds of the woods that are forecasting the rising of the sun. I hear the barn owl that I have seen occasionally, but I know the owl’s voice. The other birds chime in, as do the tree frogs. They remind me of my responsibility to protect them and be their advocate because they, too, are created by God and have a place in the kingdom.
This helps me begin the morning dialogue with our loving and everpresent God. Note: I have never heard God calling me to accept the current irresponsible national and local monologue that are laced with lies, hate and intentional attacks on individuals, races and socio-economic groups that are powerless to defend themselves. It’s an epidemic that has spread to all levels of government, media and into our cherished institutions. Today’s American mantra is “Be scared to death!” But God said this: "Be not afraid."
We still can hear the voices of the prophets and Jesus’ voice in the Gospels telling us to lovingly care for one another, including all our neighbors. We have been told repeatedly to listen and be still and know that God is God. We hear that God believes in us and remember the admonition of Augustine of Hippo, “Without God we cannot …” There are no cast-offs or spectators in the Kingdom of God.