Dear Urban Abbey members and Friends: It is not my week to post a reflection, but I think Steve Garnaas-Holmes has a wonderful message for us in his reflection below. Love of our Savior and being close to God are what we strive for in our Rule of Life and our life in Community. On this day we remember a person who is almost “bigger than life”. I wonder how I who am relatively insignificant and unknown could ever effect any change in the world. But then, I remember that if I can touch just one person by my love and compassion, I have accomplished a great deal. We change the world one person at a time.
I encourage us all to be more loving and compassionate in our world.
Shalom and blessings, George
Grace and Peace to you.
Violence never changes the world. It only adds to the wounds. Only nonviolence will heal us. Nonviolence is not passivity; it is more than “not fighting.” It is the transformative act of bringing the power of compassion to bear upon the world. It requires of us the courage to risk suffering, and the love to care for those who oppose us.
It begins with the transformation of our own hearts. We confront ourselves in humble self-honesty, confess our own violence, and ask the God of Peace to remove from us our anger, fear, greed, and the willingness to hurt and dehumanize others for our own gain. We experience our own forgiveness by the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Forgiven of our own faults and injustices, we remain aware of our own sin. We see ourselves as part of a unified whole of humanity, not a separate individual. We are able to love others as ourselves: mindful of our common failings and frailties and that we are all equally flawed and forgiven, God's Beloved. We then can act for the sake of justice without judgment toward persons, without bitterness or blame, but with clear hearts loving even our enemies. Ultimately it is not our actions but the love with which we carry out those actions that accomplishes powerful things and changes the world.
Many will laugh and say that simply being kind in the face of great evil will not change the world. But think of it: who changed the world, Jesus or Pilate? The British colonialists or Gandhi? The sheriff with the dogs, or Martin Luther King, Jr? Nonviolence is the only power capable of changing the world. Let it begin in your own heart.