GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection
#71 — March 1, 2018
Do all the good you can…
— John Wesley
Greetings, Inspired Seekers!
Where is the suffering? In a recent conversation I was reminded that this might be the most important question to ask ourselves in any situation. For, I believe, that is the beginning of all transformation. And, if we look at the world today, we are overwhelmed by the suffering, seen and unseen, that is being endured by so many friends, family members and strangers.
As we approach the time of Easter and Passover, we can see this question answered by the sacred celebrations of both Christians and Jews. All of the world's belief systems address this question of suffering but, this year, Good Friday and the first night of Passover intersect on the same day, offering a reminder of much that is common ground. Pain, suffering and the promise of new life meet on one important night.
The story of Moses seeing the suffering of the Jewish people and choosing to leave behind his life of comfort in the palace and take up the role of sacred activist is the main story of Judaism. All depends on this change of heart, mind and body as Moses moves beyond “thoughts and prayers” and into committed choices that change a nation and a people.
Throughout His entire life, Jesus lives where the pain is and his life comes to a gory and painful end, drenched in suffering. This sacred life was lived outside the parameters, rules and regulations of high society and the religious hierarchy, and was, indeed, a life on the fringes. And the price paid was dear.
Both of these spiritual leaders teach us that true faith and deep spirituality free us from oppression and acceptable institutional suffering. Regardless of the source - religious, social, political or economic - oppression is oppression and the suffering it produces knows no bounds.
But rather than become overwhelmed, during this holy season let us be the ones to ask: Where is the suffering? And then, let us thoughtfully and prayerfully meet it with grace, compassion and peaceful sacred activism. Let us, as John Wesley said - “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
In that way, our life and our legacy will ease the suffering of the world with thoughts and prayers AND with mindful actions.
A blessed holy season - however you celebrate!
Monthly Affirmation: I recognize the suffering that crosses my path and offer compassion without judgment to soften it.
The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington ministers to the suffering of all people of all beliefs. she can be reached at 215 260 1611 or at GraceMatters@TheSpaceForGrace.com.