A New Year: hope at the Crossroads
I wanted to send you all hope-filled greetings on the eve of a New Year! As 2019 winds to a messy and unsatisfactory ending, we will all be anticipating not only a New Year but a new decade with a mixture of hope and concern. It is certainly the case that we find ourselves at the crossroads of major social and political change. Experience at the crossroads can be anxious but also exciting.
We are all increasingly feeling unmoored from if not abandoned by the traditional visions that no longer connect with or serve us. We witnessed some of this here in the Presidential Election in 2016, and we have seen widespread disillusion graphically played out in the recent UK General Election in which Labour lost a huge swathe of its traditional support.
However, it's worth considering that being unmoored from traditional and tribal world-views might also open up the possibilities of free navigation to new horizons, hitherto not imaginable.
I was interested to read recently in the New York Times Nicholas Kristof’s opinion piece
This Has Been the Best Year Ever
I commend it to you as a reminder that behind the 24/7 catastrophic news cycle there is much achievement also to be celebrated.
It’s easy to lose sight of the massive steps being made in eradicating global poverty and increasing educational opportunities around the world. It’s easy to despair over the lack of political will to tackle the urgency of climate change and yet, community by community, state by state, nation by nation the groundswell is shifting things in the right direction.
While we gaze forlornly at the top – from the bottom up as it were - forces of economic momentum recalibrate industrial output and energy production in the direction of renewable and green solutions - a process that opens up new opportunities for wealth generation and future employment.
With change comes two possibilities: one is fear, the other is hope. With the cracking open of the dead shells of yesterday’s world, we take the risk of not only being disturbed but also changed. As the carapace of past structures disintegrates before our eyes - I encourage us to be more curious about the new possibilities that such disturbing change opens us up to – new possibilities for making the world a better place.
The Incarnation of God to participate in the human experience reminds us that making the world a better place continues to be our mission in the divine dream of remaking the whole of the creation. Through confronting entrenched systems of injustice God invites us to participate in the arc of history bending in the direction of justice - or to put it more colloquially, you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.
Remember that the very act of hoping brings a new reality to the reshaping of our everyday experience in real time – a process that is continually pointing us in new and hope-fueled directions.
A prayer for 2020.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
See you in church this Sunday for the conclusion of the Christmas Season with the holy feast of the Epiphany.