Today is a day like any other day. The sun will ‘rise’, and the sun will ‘set. There may be clouds, or rain, or wind and depending on the season there may be snow or ice. It is a day that the Lord has given to us. What we do on this day or any day may depend on whether we pause and listen to the wind of the Holy as it swirls upon us and our world. We may learn what is life-giving.
Yet, on this day (November 3) our nation will vote for a new president and other public offices. (Congress, etc.) We shall either keep the president we have for 4 more years or wonder how the newly president and his delegates will perform and how that will affect each of us. We may see a change in Congress. In either case we need to pray, breathe, and act in good conscience for that which is life-giving. But this day is still like any other day. We choose how to live each day.
The Lord, through Micah tells us how we are to live. “He (G!d) has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6: 8)
The Prophet Amos (5:24) also explains what the Lord requires: “… let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
As does Jesus. “A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” 26 Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”
27 He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”29 But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” “(Luke 10:25-29) This then leads into the beautiful story of the Good Samaritan.
The Buddha tells us to “Live in joy, in love, even among those who hate. Live in joy, in health, even among the afflicted. Live in joy, in peace, even among the troubled. Look within, be still. Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of the way.” https://citatis.com/a38641/26dbd9/
The 12th century Persian, poet Rumi tells us to “choose love for without this beautiful love, life is nothing but a burden.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8702737-choose-love-choose-love-without-this-beautiful-love-life-is
The Quran begins by describing God (Allah) in this way: “In the name of God (Allah), the Compassionate (al-Rahman), the Merciful” (al-Rahim” (1.1)
The 12th century poet Shams Tabrizi implores us to not despair. “Whatever happens in your life, not matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed Divine life will open up a new path for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A lover of the Divine is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied”
Today we look within our hearts. We will listen in the quiet for the voice of the Holy One who has created all. We dare not despoil this life with words and actions of blame, of destruction or that which can not find mercy and justice. We look to what is life-giving.
I heard a story on a recent podcast of “On Being” told by Rev. Otis Moss III (October 15, 2020). Rev Moss, interviewed by Krista Tippet, relates how he heard his father tell this story of Howard Thurman. “When Thurman was a small boy, he saw an elder, man who must have been in his eighties, who was planting pecan trees… And young Thurman raised a question. He said, ‘Sir, you’re not gonna be around. You will not live long enough to taste the fruit from these trees.’ And the old man paused and said, ‘Son, all my life I’ve been eating from trees I did not plant. It’s my job to plant for somebody else.’” And my father said, “Just plant. There will be trees that you will never see grow, that someone else will eat from. And it’s their responsibility to plant for somebody else”.
I loved hearing that story. It made my heart skip a beat! We are living today to plant fruits of grace, mercy, justice, and love for those of us here now and most importantly for those who come after us. We are here to live and work in our oasis of kindness, charity, and hospitality so when we are gone, we will be remembered in such ways. Yes, we will slip on the way. We are human beings and human beings slip and fall. Yet, human beings also have the capacity to rise up, especially when we pause and listen to the sounds of the Creation, ever ongoing in the spirit of love, grace, kindness, and hospitality. Amen.