Written on: May 5, 2021
By: K.T. Connor, Ph.D.
TURNING THE DARKNESS OF TODAY’S DIVISIONS INTO SHINING LIGHT
The Sixth Sunday of Easter calls us to reflect on our world today as never before. The first reading is about God not showing partiality, and about Peter seeing humanness as a link with others. The second reading calls forth loving one another, for love is of God. If we remember last week’s reading from John’s letter, one is reminded that love is not only of God but is God. And as we live/abide in love, we live/abide in God. And even more, God lives/abides in us.
What a message for our world of today. That should challenge us not to tear people down or to consider differences to be reasons for creating division. God is everywhere, including in all of us, and when we cut people out, we cut God out and forget God’s presence.
A wonderful book I read this Lent was Richard Rohr’s The Universal Christ. The depth of that book really continues to strike me. Rohr suggests that, as we accept—totally—the other, whatever their limits and the lives they live, we are affirming the presence of God that is there in them—and in us, whether we recognize it or not.
Love is needed so much today if we’re ever going to grow beyond hate and division. Seeing God in all is essential.
This reminds me of Eileen White’s reflection during Lent as she quoted Isaiah: “If you remove the yoke of oppression from the downtrodden among you, if you stop accusing others, if you do away with mean and inflammatory speech, if you make sure that the hungry and oppressed have all that they need, then your light will shine in the darkness. And even your bleakest moments will be bright as a clear day.”
This is so much of what we need today. Even religion needs to love, not separate. For example, Rohr himself writes:
“After all, there is not a Native, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, or Christian way of loving. There is not a Methodist, Lutheran, or Orthodox way of running a soup kitchen.
There is not a gay or straight way of being faithful, nor a Black or Caucasian way of hoping.”
Rohr then adds: “We all know positive flow when we see it, and we all know resistance and coldness when we feel it. All the rest are mere labels.” (Page 70)
Of course, that positive flow, as opposed to resistance, should be felt within ourselves as well. Knowing that God is in us, this gives us the energy to know it in others. It engages us to reach out to them–whatever their beliefs, their perceived faults, their differences to us in our minds.
I am enriched by this kind of thinking because this is the loving spirit I experienced because of living with Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. I’m so grateful to be reminded of this as I read the newsletters, connect now and then, and see reports of actions that still reflect such wonderful reaching out. Grey Nuns are still changing the world lovingly, a step -or even a strategy- at a time. I’m so grateful to be reminded of this in today’s readings.