Day 27: Lent for my Human Affection

“Deep down we must have real affection for each other, a clear realization or recognition of our shared human status. At the same time, we must openly accept all ideologies and systems as a means of solving humanity’s problems. One country, one nation, one ideology, one system is not sufficient. It is helpful to have a variety of different approaches on the basis of a deep feeling of the basic sameness of humanity. We can then make a joint effort to solve the problems of the whole of humankind.”

–The Dalai Lama

Can you feel in his voice the exhaustion of centuries and centuries of humanity beating itself up?

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I feel like there’s not much space for me to see the rest of the world, not in our news outlets, anyway. Because it’s election season, it’s competition season, it’s pool-your-money-together-to-win season, and the media outlets have all the power in their hands.

So I stay further away from Facebook because my heart really can’t stand it.

I’m not going to rant here about who I think should win and why.

I’m just going to point back to this man who speaks with a profound degree of humility, because it takes so much more to say that we are in this together.

I go to a big church, and we are trying to repair ourselves, trying to heal some relationships, trying to foster new ones, trying to figure out again and again and again what it means to be the church in this town in this age.

And I believe one of the ways we fail in giving community is letting people think they are alone, secluded, isolated, on their own to figure out their humanity.

It takes courage to walk out of comfort and speak to someone else, especially someone other, to say, “I see all that you have, and I see God in it. Let’s work together.”

But that’s just it. Look deep enough, really, really deep enough into someone’s eyes, and you cannot deny the imprint of God, that snowflake-like uniqueness that is rooted in a holy presence.

You cannot reject their humanity or conclude that they are any less deserving of love, of compassion, of grace.

Deep down we must have real affection for each other, he says.

I’m a part of one nation, but I’m afraid I’ve got to have more than that.

I’ve got to have a deeper connectedness to the people around me and the ones on the other side of the world I’ll never meet, to the rivers that run by my big city and the trees who have told stories year after year after year.

I must remember that I belong to so much more than this, what I see and experience and think I know.

And maybe if I remind myself of that, remind myself of the Dalai Lama’s words today, I might, within myself, inch closer to helping humanity heal at the core of who we are.

Lent is about journey, healing, unexpected life in unexpected places.

May we journey there with the knowledge of humanity’s God-essence leading us.

Amen.

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