Liv­ing with re­al­ity and hope

Truro Daily News - - FAITH/RELIGION - Don Mur­ray

Have you no­ticed? e days are al­ready a tad bit longer. e weird wob­ble of the Earth has set us on yet an­other cy­cle of the sea­sons.

In De­cem­ber we took a pause or, more ac­cu­rately, rushed to cel­e­brate the sea­son.

For many of us it was Christ­mas. Also there was the sol­stice – the most fun­da­men­tal of all De­cem­ber cel­e­bra­tions – or what­ever your par­tic­u­lar re­li­gion, cul­ture, fam­ily or busi­ness was cel­e­brat­ing. Some, like my­self, had a birth­day thrown in.

Now, how­ever, the gifts have been ex­changed, the par­ties ex­pe­ri­enced, Christ­mas Eve ser­vices at­tended, con­certs en­joyed, fam­i­lies gath­ered, tur­keys cooked and eaten, and what­ever else the sea­son brought.

Now is the time of res­o­lu­tions. In the sober thoughts of New Year’s day, per­chance af­ter a night of over in­dul­gence, our thoughts turned to res­o­lu­tions and goals. How do we want to bet­ter our lives? And what do we want to ac­com­plish and en­joy as the New Year un­folds?

Now is the time for tak­ing stock. We face the re­al­i­ties of our lives, with all the hopes, fears, pos­si­bil­i­ties, grief, joy, pain and love that is ours. Many of us, like Emily and me, have been richly sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends. Many, like us, are shad­owed by one who has died. Some of us face the mis­takes of past years. Oth­ers re­joice in the good­ness of life and the ful ll­ments the years have brought. We are all com­pli­cated mix­tures of mem­o­ries and hopes.

Out there is the world. For those of us of se­nior years, our great­est weight is the world we are leav­ing to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. Ev­ery day it be­comes more ap­par­ent that if we don’t deal with how we have run roughshod over our earth, our fu­ture, and that of all life, is in jeop­ardy.

And the mon­strous abuse of power and priv­i­lege cloud any pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a world of jus­tice, peace and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Yes, we must face the dark re­al­i­ties of our world. We must be aware of and con­fess the fail­ures of our an­ces­tors and our­selves to rise above our pet­ti­ness and greed and see the vast one­ness of hu­man­ity and all that is.

It is easy to be over­whelmed by the dark­ness that seems to be de­scend­ing over much of hu­man­ity – cli­mate change, nar­row-minded pop­ulism, cor­po­rate greed, re­li­gious self-right­eous­ness…

If I re­mem­ber my high school his­tory cor­rectly, I be­lieve renowned his­to­rian James Henry Breasted said, in e ect, that civ­i­liza­tion is like the tide. It comes in and goes out. But each time it comes in a lit­tle farther and stays a lit­tle longer. Right now the tide seems to be ebbing. But the force of civ­i­liza­tion, the en­ergy that yearns for a world of jus­tice, peace and the free­dom to fol­low the creativ­ity of our lives, is at work.

We need that con­fi­dent faith that the uni­verse is on our side and the tide of civ­i­liza­tion will come in stronger than ever.

We can look to creative lead­ers in all ar­eas of life to nd hope. But you need look no farther than the peo­ple around you. We live in a world of won­der­ful, creative, skilled, lov­ing and com­pas­sion­ate peo­ple.

Granted, we all have our aws, but most of the peo­ple who are part of your every­day lives are gen­er­ous and kind and have the good of the world, and you, at heart. From your neigh­bour who cheer­fully greeted you, to the sur­geon who re­paired your heart, the world teems with good­ness. ere are ex­cep­tions to the rule that can darken life. But look to the good and the peo­ple that live it.

“Now faith is the sub­stance of things hoped for, the ev­i­dence of things not seen.” e writer of He­brews was not look­ing to some su­per­nat­u­ral God to come and solve all our prob­lems. Here is an at­ti­tude to­ward life that be­lieves our hopes and vi­sions are real and pos­si­ble, but we make them hap­pen.

Let us not deny the re­al­ity of evil and the dark side of life. But be­hind and through every­thing there is a surg­ing de­sire within all hu­man­ity, and our in­di­vid­ual selves, to live a fully hu­man and creative life in a just and car­ing world.

“There­fore, since we are sur­rounded by so great a cloud of wit­nesses, let us lay aside ev­ery weight and the [lack of vi­sion] that clings so closely, and run with per­se­ver­ance the race that is set be­fore us.” (He­brews 12:1).

Here’s to the New Year.

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