I have begun to focus my ministry each month around spiritual themes. In March I explored the theme of brokenness and how we might begin to find healing. In April we consider the theme of renewal. Spring only reminds us of what is an immutable law of nature; life will always find a way to return. Even in our darkest hours, there are seeds that lay dormant waiting for a little warmth and rain to spring again. It might seem sentimental at best, trite at worst, to proclaim hope in a world as beset with trouble as ours. But consider this: how is that children keep being born, even though their parents know the odds they face. There is something undeniable about wanting to go on, regardless of your circumstances.
The trick is finding a way to go on. Ultimately, all theology (that is, the study of ultimate matters) is pragmatic. What we believe has to make sense to us most of all. When we proclaim that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all, we mean, first and foremost, that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of ourselves. Once we accept that, it is but a short step to loving our neighbor, even when we disagree. In other words, the path to renewal begins with each of us. If we are worthy of living, so are those with whom we share our lives.
Despair begins when we have lost the faith that we are worthy of change. The hardest part of the journey is the first step. We exist for the dual purpose of reclaiming our worthiness as human beings and then, once attained, going out and helping to heal the world. As our bumper stickers tell it: Nurture Your Spirit, Help Heal the World. At either end we are here for each other, ever loving, ever accepting, ever hoping.
With Grace and Grit, John