"Sunshine in the Storm Clouds-"
- At the Desert Retreat House -
Yesterday I listened to President Obama’s “farewell press conference.” For a solid hour Mr. Obama was grilled about the chaos that seems to be infecting the spirit of American society- the rising tide of racism and violence, the despair felt by so many citizens, a nation deeply divided by culture wars and class distinctions. Will the new administration exacerbate the division? One reporter even asked if democracy as we have come to know it is now coming to an end?
As the conference concluded I was struck by the president’s “hope-filled” final words, the last words most of us will likely hear from Barack Obama as President of the United States. He sounded like Martin Luther King Jr. as he talked about the long moral arc of the universe that bends toward justice and he professed his ultimate faith in the basic goodness of human beings, no matter how often this goodness is hidden or disguised. Mr. Obama concluded his remarks by saying:
At my core, I think we’re going to be ok.
I felt as if I were hearing words of truth. I also believe that, in the end we are going to be ok.
By saying this I hardly believe that, everything is going to be just fine, so just sit back, “don’t worry, be happy.” In fact, I am pretty convinced that we are in for some pretty stormy weather as a nation and as a culture in the days ahead and that people of goodwill will be called upon to mightily resist the powers of hatred and darkness that would tear us apart. We will be called on to muster up our moral courage and champion the dignity of every human being. We will be called upon to boldly oppose the growing tide of racism and bigotry and stand against any person or institution that would exclude rather than include.
But, at my core, I also believe that there is a “Spark of God” in every human heart, a spark of Love that cannot be extinguished no matter how hard we may try to snuff it out. So yes, I do believe that “we’re going to be ok.”
I am reminded of a line from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:
In the end these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
You can’t kill Love! It always remains and ultimately Love wins the day.
It’s raining in the desert where I live – pretty unusual weather for this part of the country. In fact over the next few days even more storms are predicted – some are supposed to be kind of bad. This morning, as I looked out my window at the dark clouds and the falling rain, an old Quaker hymn popped into my mind:
My life flows on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the clear, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
while to the rock I’m clinging.
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?
I think we’re going to be OK.