Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Listening to God’s Promise

“A promise through the ages rings.” And what a promise it is! A promise of faith to trust in the workings of the world; a promise of love that casts out doubt, fear and despair; a promise of hope that shines in the dark abyss of broken hearts and shattered minds.

The greatest promise of all, the “universal song of life,” echoes throughout God’s beloved community. Far too commonly, however, God’s reign undergoes a destructive transformation. Hope is directed away from the present and into the distant future, reserved for the select few. I resist this ghettoization of hope!

For me, the scriptural promise of justice, equity and compassion overflows into the now, embodying not a place but an attitude – a disposition, a relationship, a way of life. Hope calls forth humility in the face of arrogance, confidence in the face of uncertainty, compassion in the face of hatred and injustice.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus of Nazareth metaphorically compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground (Mark 4:31). How can it be? The majesty of God’s presence downgraded to a single kernel? Precisely! I understand the parable as nothing less than a call to hope – a recasting of the Holy in the very promise of growth. To seek God is to locate the divine in small, daily actions. A single act of kindness moves us towards communion with the Spirit of Life. “From deep despair and perished things a green shoot always, always springs,/ And something always, always sings.” God sings hope to us in the minutia of the everyday; the question is whether we stop to listen.

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