Holiday, what holiday!
When I decided it must be time to write another blog, particularly as it is now 2015, I must admit I was a bit stumped. I had been preparing so hard for Christmas, for the celebration and for the service, I suddenly felt drained and worn out. It had been a big year…. I needed a holiday!
So I have had a few days away at Rottnest, a little Island of the coast of Perth, with beautiful clean beaches and very few cars. I went with my extended family and had a beautiful relaxing time. A break from responsibilities, commitments and God.
But God has a habit of reappearing just when you want to be rid of that nagging, compelling urge to be better than we are. For when we are on holidays we want to run away from all that is bad in the world, from all those who are suffering, and just look after number one!
But it doesn’t work out like that, well not for me anyway.
When I say God I don’t mean someone tapping me on the shoulder and asking me “what are you doing” in a rather accusatory voice, as though I have been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. But rather that sense that no matter where we are, or what we are doing, there is always a response we can choose which is loving, an action that is helpful and a thought that liberates rather than narrows us. The call from God is found within every lived moment of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. And pushes us beyond our individual lives into the lives of others.
In other words while we may go on holiday there is no time when God goes on a holiday from us. We are to be faithful to the call whatever we are doing, even if it is walking and talking, eating and drinking.
We returned from our break to find that Paris and the Charlie Hebdo magazine had been the subject of an atrocity that is hard to imagine. This follows on from the many others the world has had to endure throughout 2014. Death and destruction continues to haunt our globe and our citizens. We live at a time when we are called constantly to show love rather than hate, peace rather than violence and compassion rather than judgement and exclusion. We cannot go on holiday from these fundamental callings.
So I would like to start this year, 2015, with some quotes and continue the year sharing the wisdom of the ages with you all.
Firstly from Martin Luther King about violence…
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Then from Margaret Mead.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
And finally my most favourite quote from Carl Sagan. Often we forget that we live on a planet in the middle of a vast universe.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
We are bound together, so let us be bound together in love, and begin 2015 with hope. Although it is often tempting, we must never give in to the tide of helplessness, we will never be helpless if we work together.
Let us make it a year in which each of us can be driven to fight the tide of violence by living our lives in the light of love.