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Bending the Arc

In the winter of our discontent
In the ruins of our monuments
An ancient light appearing
Into every deadly plot we’ve laid
Into all our bitterness and hate
A kindness ever nearing

Over every war we’ve ever waged
Over every prophet we have slain
A peace past understanding.
Out of all our chosen misery
Out of all our misplaced loyalties
A heaven in the making

Eden’s gates swing open to us now.
We’ll turn every weapon to a plow.
For every sin a pardon.
Every field of wildflowers left to seed.
Every forest filling up with green.
A kingdom in a garden.

I have been grieved almost to the point of madness by the wars and rumors of wars in these last ten years—especially the last seven. I understand a little now why my grandfather had a nervous breakdown around the time of the Vietnam war even though he didn’t go to fight. War is brutal and no respecter of persons, and it affects us all—not just those bombing or being bombed. 

I don’t always know how to go forth bravely, adventurously, joyously, in the face of the devastation war is wreaking even now as I type this: but I have seen protestors dancing and heard street prophets calling. The signs of the times, for me, are not in The Sky, but in the tenement halls Paul Simon wrote about.

I have even, at times, despaired of God’s existence.  My interpretation of the Scriptures with which I used to console myself that God was “in control” or watching over us all pale in the face of chemical bombs dropping on Syria’s children.

So how do we find God in these times?

Despair is a privilege reserved for those who do not find themselves marginalized or on the run, so I reject it as a Christian act of hope. Martin Luther King says that the moral arc of the universe is long, but bent towards justice. When I find myself paralyzed by despair, I know that I must follow his example and put my hands and feet to the work. If we do not believe that the universe’s moral arc is bending toward justice, then we need to move our bodies and join the people who are putting their own bodies on the line to bend the arc.

Preemptive Love offers us many ways to do just this; I am more than excited to partner with them for this Friday’s Tokens show, and I hope you will join us as we make music and speak to each other of a new Eden, and how we might be part of finding and tending it.

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