It's been a rough week, hasn't it?
I love the advancements of technology for many reasons, chief among them my connection with you that's made possible because of it, but it's also quite challenging to the human heart to have access to everything going on in the world, near and far, every moment of every day.
This past week was one of those challenging times. Right now my heart is carrying the events in Ferguson, Missouri; the death of Robin Williams; the families fleeing Iraq for their lives; the bombing and fighting escalating in Gaza and Israel; and the reality of thousands of unaccompanied children detained at the borders of the United States while trying to migrate here for safety. To name but a few.
How are we to hold it all?
The image of our Still Forming land continues to prove helpful.
Earlier this week, for instance, as the violence in Iraq was labeled as an attempt at genocide, I found myself wondering how I wanted the United States to respond ... and that got me thinking of our Still Forming land. If our nation was real, how would we respond to any of these tragedies? What kind of leadership would be required? What would ambassadorship look like?
It's clear to me that our land is about welcoming those tending to the inner work of their souls — those who have hit the spiritual wall and are disillusioned and confused, needing space and time to process their experiences and beliefs and who they are and who God is. Our land is filled with residents doing this work.
It is also full of citizens who began that initial work long ago but continue to live here because 1) they know the inner work is ongoing and 2) what they gained through that initial work was so valuable, it changed the lens through which they view everything else. They live here because the values of this land accord with the found values of their own lives.
That's who lives here with us. (Welcome to each of you!)
But what about our relationship with other lands? What about our attention to needs beyond our borders?
I think this comes down to two things:
- Our values
- The response of individuals who live here
Our values have to do with our posture toward these world events. If we are people of welcome, of kindness, of honesty, of courage, then we will extend those values when faced with others in need. We will offer tenderness and compassion to those who are hurting and afraid. We will not fear speaking the truths that need to be spoken. We will esteem those who are being brave.
This is our posture toward ourselves and each other, and it is our posture toward the world.
As far as the individual response goes, I am reminded of something I began to grasp when I studied nonviolence a number of years ago, and it's this: Activism takes all shapes and forms. We are called to different things. We, as individual people, cannot tend to every single need in the world with our one unique life, but we can tend to the specific things we are called to do, and we can do those things deeply and well.
And so I think we support and send off with blessings, prayers, and love those from our Still Forming land who are called to serve the needs in the wider world in specific and concrete ways. We trust them to take our values with them, along with their particular gifting and training and call. We herald them in their yes. We have them know we hold them as they go. We welcome them back when they return and seek to care for and learn from them in their experiences.
Are you being called to a particular need in the broader world beyond our borders? Is there a way we can hold you and celebrate your yes as you go?