We saw the movie Wonder Woman recently and like many people found it to be a story full of beauty and meaning—far more than I expected. It’s a story of good and evil, of violence and love, but most of all it is about defining moments and the clarity and wisdom that emerges from them. Diana believes human beings are simply under the influence of Aries, the god of war, and when he is vanquished all shall be at peace. Along the way, she discovers we are more complex creatures than she thought, filled with tensions and challenges of our own making, that no external hero can resolve for us.
Within our own nation, competing views vie for our attention and ultimately our allegiance. Are we the nation with an unyielding commitment to the conviction that “all men are created equal” and who welcomes “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore” or are we a nation where some are more equal than others? Is our allegiance to what binds us together stronger than what seeks to divide us? Depending on your news channel of choice, you hear played out differing views of who we are—from our founding stories to our tomorrows. Fundamentally, our identity is at once forged in how we choose to live and revealed by those choices.
Who are we really? I love the way Richard Rohr says it:
I do not think that violence and negativity are natural to us. I believe you are made for love, that your natural abiding place is love, and that you in fact are love. Your absolute foundation is communion with God and others. This is the “deepest me” to which you must return before you act. From this foundation, you know you must act and you will act, but now from a place of positive, loving energy. You must start from a deep place of “yes.” The first step to moving beyond our temptation to negativity, which is really a death wish, is to recognize it is there.
What is at the heart of your life? What is your absolute foundation? The church is not the place you’ll find perfection. It isn’t without its struggles because it is made up of us—all of us who are human and fragile and doing our best with what we have. We gather as a Christian community because we are reminded of the love God has for us—for each and every human being—and that we are created to love and to be loved. We don’t have an external hero saving us either. We have Jesus, who shows us the way of life—which is the way of love—and invites us to follow him. It is always ours to choose.
What helps you stay in touch with the ‘deepest you?’ For many of us, the more we are surrounded by those who radiate love to us, the more we can trust in and live from that place of positive, loving energy as we find our way in the world. We all have wounds and struggles and failures. We all have times when our pain makes it impossible to return to that abiding place, but we are nevertheless called to do our best to move beyond the insidious temptation to negativity and division. And in and through it all, we are called to abide in love and to be people of love—expansive, joyful, life-giving love.
What helps you remember and act out of that deep truth?
Hope to see you Sunday,