I think it’s an amazing time to be alive; I really do. The ability we have to be connected to one another is unprecedented in our history. We can tweet and text and facebook all over the globe, catching each other up on our kids’ activities and growth, or simply share news articles about information.
We can send funny videos of cats playing the piano to our friends, or pictures with witty captions to our contacts. We even have the ability to share pictures of the tossed salad we’re currently enjoying in New York with someone special in Nebraska or Dublin.
As it happens with everything in life, with all of the good comes some not so good, even some down right bad. Looking at social media, lately, it’s hard not to notice just how mean we can be to each other, and I wonder why that is.
I’ve read articles, seen news stories and heard people offer explanations as to why: We want to be right about things; we have the time and ability on these various platforms to craft just the right zinger so that we can feel superior; we can hide behind our computer screen and not fully have to deal with confrontation. These reasons, and others, make sense to me, but leave me feeling somewhat deflated.
Not long ago, I heard on the radio that 72% of Americans believe in God these days, which is down from 84%. Now, 72% isn’t such a bad percentage, politicians would kill for such approval ratings, but the fact that the numbers are dropping says something about what we’re going through as a society. What exactly does it say? Well, I’m not exactly sure, but for me, when I look around, I see people of all races and beliefs who desperately desire deeds over words; they are seeking meaning in what is done and not so much in what is said.
In 1992, Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “God without you will not, as you without God cannot.”
When I think about the teachings of Jesus, I am intrigued and constantly challenged by the message that the Kingdom Of God is upon us, and we are called to participate with God in bringing it in. To me, that means that we cannot simply wait around for God to magically take away the troubles and injustice. It will never happen that way. The days of wandering in the wilderness are over! There is a path before us, and we must take it!
We have, everyone of us, been made in the image and likeness of God. That means that we have intimate access to what God is centrally about, to what God is–
We are called, by whatever tradition of faith you subscribe to, (and, even if you subscribe to no faith tradition at all, we know it in our very makeup) to love one another. To love and to be loved is what we all seek.
I, myself, am a Christian. For me, when I want to know what God is like, what a life filled with God is like, I see that in Jesus. For Christians as a whole, Jesus is the divine revelation of God. When we look at Jesus, we see love in action; we see God in action.
Maybe you’re not a Christian. Maybe you think “religion” is the root of all that’s wrong with our country right now. To be honest, I believe you could make a very strong argument for that case, and, based on religion’s sketchy at best track record, I don’t blame you for a second.
But, what if, in this second chance moment, we put all that aside.
What if we were to put aside all of our present conceptions of what it means to “get it right” and concentrated solely on being “God-like”?–On being “Love-like.”
What would happen if we poured all of our energies, all of our purpose and all of our day to day efforts into being love in action?
What if we were God in action? What would this world be like?
I have an idea of how it would be, and so do you, when you take the time to think about it; when you take the time to dream about it.
I don’t need you to be like me. I don’t need you to think the way I think. In fact, that would bore me to tears. But, I do need you to dream. I need you to hope, and I need you to remind me how to love. We can remind each other, if you’re game to try.
I believe, despite everything, that we’re close. We’re closer than we’ve ever been! Can you imagine?
“People say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one.”
These words from the great John Lennon resonate with me, still. They lift me up and shake me, as great art can. I hope I can muster up the courage to keep on dreaming so that some day, we’ll all be able to see the dream become reality.