I wanted to write something clever to ring in the New Year. I thought maybe something funny or satirical. How about deep and profound? Or maybe inspirational? Nothing, nada, zilch. I have nothing. I’ve made no resolutions, I have no high hopes.
Remember the show years ago called THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS? Within about half an hour, 2019 will be the year that was. There will be no fond memories, no awesome events, and no ‘light my fire’ inspirations. Folks, 2019 was a certifiable dud, a wasteland of time, a sewer of unintelligible gibberish. And we had a front row seat. With thanks let us bury 2019 in the deep, dark hole in which it belongs.
2020 will be spectacular when and if we make it so. Give back the insanity to those people who want an insane life. Return the uncivility, the crass behavior, the smutty behavior, the lies and deceit to those who thrive upon it. Return to sender C.O.D. You and I don’t need it in our lives. We have better things to do. AMEN ?
Let’s love our friends as if they are irreplaceable because they truly are. Let’s treat our family as if we actually like them. Let’s see the rest of struggling humanity as brothers and sisters because in compassionate solidarity we are one.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. STEP 10, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
Humility is defined on page 58 of TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS as “a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become who we could be.”
Sobriety is serious business, but most often we alcoholics take ourselves too seriously. The steps are suggestions that can never be practiced perfectly, but can always be pursued in daily activity. With practice and time, step 10 becomes as routine as brushing teeth in the morning. Along with a gratitude list it’s a great way to start the day. But unfortunately, humility can’t be attained, it can’t be practiced, it can’t be prayed into existence. It just happens. When I think I’ve got it, I don’t.
“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way
I can’t wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
But I’m doing the best that I can”
SOBER TODAY? GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR HIGHER POWER A HAND
if you are sober today, give yourself and your God a hand
“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now….we thought we could find an easier, softer way. But, we could not.”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, chapter 5, How It Works
Wisdom from the BIG BOOK, the alcoholic’s bible, teaches us that there is no easy way to transformation and restoration. We cannot hang on to old ideas, we cannot party with the old crowd, we cannot entertain previous bad habits and expect a sustained, peaceful sobriety. Millions of successfully recovering alcoholics will testify to this assertion from HOW IT WORKS. For us there is not an easier, softer way.
Those of us who profess a faith walk and try to follow earnestly the God of our understanding know this principle applies to all aspects of our lives. Discernment is an integral part of daily living. Not only recognizing a spiritual value, but following the direction of that moral compass becomes a driving force in our lives. Talk the walk and then walk the talk. We cannot conveniently turn on and off the spiritual connection which has returned us to sanity.
And so it is that when discussions of social, political and religious significance occur, we have a choice – wallow in the easier, softer way of complacency and submission to the status quo or advocate what could be infinitely more difficult, but principled. Our guide? It has to be that same moral compass, that discernment which we discovered through the grace of sobriety. It has to be what was learned by giving up the easier, softer way.
I recently witnessed a conversation between two upstanding members of the community. Debating politics, one offered an opinion that his Christian faith had no bearing on his choice in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election. The moral character of his candidate had nothing to do with fitness for the office or ability to lead. The booming economy and low unemployment rate were, by far, a more important barometer than any character faults and defects. Maybe he is right. Maybe it is okay during the election cycle to put away in a box the faith and values which have transformed our lives. Maybe the economy, stock markets and retirement accounts are more important than the life and work of Jesus manifesting through us. Maybe. What do you think?
Consider this – Jesus was not born into our world to hang on a cross at the front of the church sanctuary, to adorn the wall with art, or to be worshipped from afar with incantations and prayers. Mary did not birth him so that the world could bow at her feet in front of the manger in marvel and adoration. God did not send him so that mankind could write scriptures and hymns praising him about this time every year. Jesus is not just another festive reason to celebrate once a year. He is meant to become “our work, our being and our personhood.” Richard Rohr
We all were meant to be mothers of Jesus. We were designed to endure the birthing pains of the changes required to be men and women walking the walk of humans transformed by God’s love, tolerance and compassion. We are to be manifestations of the human whose birth we celebrated yesterday.
Celebrate, yes. Adore, yes. But, that is not enough, is it? When we accept our responsibility as contemporary nurturers of Christ, we also assume the power to change history, society, and all relationships. Don’t put Jesus up on the shelf for another year to collect dust. It’s just another Bible story when this birth is left on the pages of Scriptures and not incorporated into everyday living.
Today we celebrate what many Christians including Franciscans believe to be the most significant day of the Christian year – the birth of a new nonviolent world. Jesus was all about nonviolence. His ways and life, encapsulated in the Gospels, breathe a better way for Christians to engage with brothers/sisters of Hinduism, of Islam, of Judaism, of Buddhism, of all the great religious persuasions pursuing peace on earth. Over a hundred years ago, Gandhi observed that every religion is rooted in nonviolence. May we also, in our Christian faith walk, begin the Christmastide celebration ushering in 2020 with the peace of Gandhi, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus on our hearts. Namaste. 🙏
FROM MATTHEW 5:1-7, 27
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.