Things have been getting to me lately.
Corruption. Lexuses & Mercedes. Politics. Ignorance. They always get to me…but sometimes they become really heavy. The weight of a hundred thousand thoughts cause despair. Trust me. And then in no time…Depression. Frustration. Anger.
S T U C K
And then I was reminded of the big picture once again by wise sage, Henri Nouwen. The following, an excerpt from Lifesigns, may be the most important thing for those of us who engage in social justice to hear.
As prayer leads us into the house of God and God’s people, so action leads us back into the world to work there for reconciliation, unity, and peace. Once we have come to know the truth we want to act truthfully and reveal to the world its true nature.
All Christian action – whether it is visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, or working for a more just and peaceful society – is a manifestation of the human solidarity revealed to us in the house of God. It is not an anxious human effort to create a better world. It is a confident expression of the truth that in Christ, death, evil, and destruction have been overcome. It is not a fearful attempt to restore a broken order. It is a joyful assertion that in Christ all order has already been restored. It is not a nervous effort to bring divided people together, but a celebration of an already established unity.*
That turns the table doesn’t it? Isn’t that a beautiful reminder? This allows me to let go a bit…and not feel like swearing at every luxury car that drives by me on Phnom Penh’s cluttered streets (as Cyclo drivers push quadruple their weight on bicycles down the road and still struggle to survive).
Jesus has won. His Kingdom is Here. He has already conquered the ugliness. And we spend ourselves on behalf of the poor and the oppressed, and we forgive our enemies, and we do beautiful things in the name of Jesus with joy. And as we do this, we assert that he has overcome and we reveal the truth – that He is working his mustard seed Kingdom of wonder, his Salvation, in and through us still.
*Nouwen, Henri J.M. Lifesigns: Intimacy, Fecundity and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective. Image Books, New York. 1990.