It feels like we live in a world which is gripped by crisis, suffering and uncertainty.
The horrors of IS in Iraq and Syria. The unending cycles of violence and retribution in Israel and Palestine. The human catastrophe of Ebola.
Closer to home there is growing cynicism about the political process. Those who spread fear and division are more popular than ever. Banks continue in their corrupt practices and scandals continue to scar the reputation of the Police and other civic institutions.
The divide grows between rich and poor. Increasing numbers are dispossessed through injustice and poverty. And yet, as Black Friday illustrated, our culture is also possessed by the empty promises of consumerism.
Hope and meaning
So where can hope or meaning can be found? What will save the world from the mess we are in? Yesterday, I read these words written by Jim Wallis in his book The Soul of Politics which seem more relevant than ever:
“Today the political world does feel as if it has been hit by an earthquake, both domestically and internationally…Old political frameworks are suddenly inadequate, and new ones are yet to emerge. Many people are unsure where to look for new political directions; it is a time of both uncertainty and possibility.
There are periods in history when social crisis threatens to unravel society. But such times are also eras of transition, invitation and opportunity. The New Testament word for such a time is Kairos. It is a time pregnant with possibilities. We may be at such a moment.
At these historical junctures, ideological solutions and analysis are inadequate. Old political categories prove increasingly useless. Kairos instead calls for a deeper discernment and bolder action. We see a crisis, we feel a hope, we discern a word and we hear a call.
It is a renewal of the heart to which we are now summoned. The crisis of our times calls for our conversion. Our structures, values, habits and assumptions are in need of basic transformation. Neither politics or piety as we know them will effect such a change. Rather a new spirituality is required, a spirituality rooted in old traditions but radically applied to our present circumstances.”
Available to all
This new spirituality it available to all of us, whether we consider ourselves religious or not. Let’s take time in the weeks before Christmas to rediscover it.
This is a time truly pregnant with possibilities because the Christmas story is one of God becoming one of us. Born in vulnerability into a world of violence. The message, first heard by ordinary shepherds, is that God has come near and made peace available to everyone. Rather than encouraging an escape from reality, faith in this story gives us resources to engage in the real world.
So instead of being a binge on those things which we know don’t bring true satisfaction, lets make space in the following weeks a time to dig deeper into ourselves. Let’s rediscover the hope which can bring transformation and renewal.
R&R has produced a simple resource to help you give 10 minutes a day for silence, reflection and prayer for the 24 days of Advent: R&R Advent Challenge 2014