When I started this blog, my aim was to share experiences I’d had of encountering “the holy”, sacred moments that have I noticed during just regular day-to-day living. Easy work when we look at nature, or when groups of people have responded spontaneously with great compassion and kindness to a disaster.
But this week, the place I’ve encountered a holy presence the most has been in seeing the tenacity of people to stand up in favour of right relationships, in solidarity with those who are feeling overwhelmed, really trying to come together and see people as being of equal value. And in making a stand – one more time – against action and beliefs that try to pull us apart from one another.
Example: I, like many others, was profoundly sad at the mass shooting at the mosque in Ste-Foy QC; not only that it happened while people were at prayer but that it happened at all. But with increasing rhetoric of superiority and fear-mongering I wasn’t surprised. (So much for needing other people to ‘pass a test on Canadian values’…). Where I experienced holiness was in the reactions and gatherings of thousands of people across the country – including in Manitoba – in support of this hurting community. Just “regular Canadians” standing up with a hurting community and saying “this kind of hate is not ok!”
Example: the march for human rights, in Winnipeg. Not just supporting them but restating that our strength in Canada comes from the work (and, I daresay, love of neighbour) it takes to respect the variety of gift of differences in ethnicity and cultural heritages, of religious expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, political viewpoints, and even levels of humour. (The humour and ‘lightness’ of Groundhog Day reports helped me to stay balanced, reminding me that the heaviness of everything else isn’t the only thing happening in the world.)
Example: the social media campaigns #dress like a woman and #deleteUber
Example: people putting aside their sense of personal hurt to share the hurt of a grieving family.
If I had only one sentence to describe where and how I experienced holiness this week, it would be “the tenacity for respect and the resiliency it brings”.
These are concrete actions of hope. When we respect, we acknowledge the other’s value as a ‘neighbour’, a ‘child of God’. We make time and spaces to hear their pain and fear and hope. As we hear one another, we learn from each other, and we build a society that is truly more inclusive. We make the Circle wider.
When we are tenacious to the hope that our society is one where justice (being in relationships of balanced power) flows like a might river, and righteousness (right action towards each other) like an ever-flowing stream, we experience ‘being a holy community’, and God-is-among-us. (Not an original thought; it’s from the Hebrew prophet, Amos.) We build each other up after the hurt to be whole, to be better, together. We make the Circle wider.
(Thanks to Gordon Light/Common Cup Company for the title – great song! and to cbcnews.ca for the pix, accessed GoogleImages Feb 4/17)