Where social ideologies of racial, religious and sectarian prejudices flood our media and the conversations around us, Oh God turn up the volume on the Good a News of the Gospel….
Evil is loud. It is boastful. It is bombastic. Evil does not speak. It shouts! We are surrounded with people who are self-promoting ideologues. They play for the crowd. They garner likes on Facebook, Instagram and twitter. They build brands and promote a perception of popularity and success.
Even though we know that their influence will be short-lived, and their success is a mile wide and an inch deep. Nonetheless, we are discouraged by their existence and the enthusiasm with which bigotry, xenophobia, violence and pride are being celebrated. Like the hot powerful winds formed in a firestorm, these self-indulgent claims can suck the optimism out of our outlook and suffocate our hope. They can cause the breath of our faith to become labored.
They are liars. Lies need believers. Lies need the silence of the truth. Lying is the art of deceiving until lies replace facts as the basis of reality. So, the loss of breath and then our voice is particularly insidious. These lies can and do illicit a nagging envy. Popularity, after all, brings with it the power to influence. We suppose that if we had the power of their popularity, we would be able to save lives.
Therein lies the fallacy of this avalanche of feelings and justification for discouragement. The truth has never had a crowd. Love has always been ridiculed and disrespected. Popularity has always been illusive for the truly brave. Yet, humanity has seemingly avoided the self-destruction. It has always been saved by the dogged perseverance of those who would not accept defeat.
The good news is that human beings have been created with the capacity to think, feel and believe. Empathy, though it can be suppressed for a season, has never been able to be obliterated.
It is the witness of the Christian gospel and many other religious traditions that in embracing weakness there is a strength of a type that overcomes evil. In the act of believing, there is an intention of hope and consciousness that collectively forms a sphere of influence that permeates the heart of even then most callous. In courageously speaking truth, taking on the pain of others and demonstrating love circumstances change.
Breathe: Place yourself in a silent room and listen to your heartbeat. Remember that that this rhythmic sound of a muscle that is the beat of the miraculous power of faith pulsating with hope, replenishing energy and brimming with imagination for the next generation. Listen closely to this persistent, small and continuous sound of life praying that you and I do not quit.