Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me

El Señor hace nulo el consejo de las naciones; frustra los designios de los pueblos.El consejo del Señor permanece para siempre, los designios de su corazón de generación en generación. Salmos 33:10, 11

The LORD brings the will of the nations to naught; He thwarts the designs of the peoples. But the LORD’S will stands fast forever, and the designs of His heart from age to age. Psalm 33:10-11

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel… Philippians 1:12

Some of us teacher types got talking about the “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” quote yesterday, as we walked over to the Poetry Center after lunch. And this used-to-be-Mormon-then-Jehovah’s-Witness-now-agnostic friend said that she hated that quote because then it makes all of the evil in world seem purposeful, laid at the feet of some helpless or uncompassionate god.

And it is really difficult to ignore the Bleak House in which we live, especially with the current tag team of Palestine, Iraq and border children, when I have so many connecting heartstrings to each of these situations, in a long line of situations tracing its way through history.

And yet, somehow the heart deep down believes in the supracultural understandings of justice, mercy, grace, kindness. And love. This morning NPR radio played a previously recorded interview with an elderly Afghanistan writer whose book of short stories was first published when he was 79 years old.  And there was a sweetness in his voice even as he detailed life among war-torn tribes.

And Week magazine, my source of all short snippets of relevance, included a summary from a recent study published in Science 2.0:
WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.
    Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.
    While this idea may seem outlandish—after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God—evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone. 
    This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”
And while the rocket's red glare, and the bombs bursting in air are certainly part of our human experience, there are also the signs of image-bearing at our deeply engrained levels of consciousness everywhere I turn, patiently offering up iodine-swabbed veins at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center, quietly filling the Community Food Bank box at Sprouts, and even the palpable heartbreak is evidence of His love so lifted up being part of who we are.

And this is the gospel, the good news, that each of us is beloved and children of the God Who so loved the world, and that His will stands forever. And each of us is the design of His heart from age to age.

And today may I be that good news as I live through this day, noticing one at a time the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, with eager expectation and hope and in full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.