1. Mistakes. We all make them. W.S Merwin said in a toast To Mistakes:
you are the ones I
must have needed
the ones who led me
in spite of all
that was said about you
you placed my footsteps
on the only way
I have several advanced degrees in mistakes. The question is whether we learn something from our mistakes or simply repeat them. Mistakes should yield wisdom and humility–still working on both.
2. Brokenness. We are all broken. Henri Nouwen said, if “we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.”
3. Hurting cities. We live in cities with a lot of pain. What Rilke said about European cities in the 40’s is still true:
Lord, the great cities are lost and rotting.
There time is running out.
The people there live harsh and heavy,
crowded together, weary of their own routines.
We have created a complicated mess of things on this planet–a set of complex systems we can no longer manage, systems that benefit a relative few.
4. Reconciliation. It’s our job to fix things–the daily tasks of making things new: teach, heal, care, create. That’s the message of Easter and Passover–it’s time for an extreme makeover, for the ultimate maker faire. Time to get busy.
5. Leadership. Reconciliation requires leadership. We need to take a stand in favor of those less blessed.
Leadership is immensely difficult on the practical level, but simple emotionally—you must care, and care so deeply that you are not willing to accept present conditions.
6. Hope. On Easter, I think about a Seamus Heaney poem that concludes:
History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
But it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. Nouwen said reconciliation is a “ministry that never ends.” But our kids that can’t wait and deserve more from all of us.