I get this daily meditation from one of my new favorite places, The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. Today's really speaks to me, and I wanted to share it here and remember it.
"A Word of Hope
Our lives are filled with contradictions. The sun which grows the crops that feed us can also scorch the earth; the ocean that swells to a raging Tsunami also sustains wondrous sea creatures; the drug designed to heal sometimes kills; a devastating loss becomes the place of transformation. We struggle most with contradictions in our lovers and our leaders. We are drawn by their virtues, their nobility, their passions, their vision, yet their flaws—their very human flaws-- leave us deeply disappointed. We feel hurt. We feel anger. We want to attack or cut our losses and run. So too with our beloved institutions when they let us down.
In the face of contradictions, we tend toward black/white, either/or reasoning, seeing winners and losers, saints and sinners, those who are for us and against us. You’re in “my camp” or “his camp;” you’re my friend or hers. But our spiritual teachers show us another way. Living in the midst of contradictions, holding the tension, resisting our tendencies for easy answers lead to far greater learning, far deeper loving.
Every Lent, as we live again the Pascal Mystery, the cross is our foremost symbol. It was an instrument of torture-- punishment imposed by the powers and principalities against “offenders.” Yet Jesus transformed the cross into a place of forgiveness, a place of ultimate surrender to the God whom he trusted completely. By its very construction the cross embodies contradiction: the vertical is grounded in earth and reaches toward “heaven;” the horizontal stretches out to the world on left and right, east and west. In the meeting of the two axes is the greatest tension, energy, and the greatest possibility of transformation. We take on the cross in our very bodies. If we extend our arms to each side, we can feel the pull of polarities—ideas, desires, values, people, groups. In the center of our chest—the energy core--we mirror both vulnerability and expansiveness: our heart space stretched open, our hands reaching out to the world—both sides. But unless we are anchored in the vertical-- prayerfully discerning the will of God, humbly seeking the path of Christ-- we will have enormous difficulty holding the tension. We are more likely to judge, to hold fast to this one, reject that one, more likely to be broken apart.
If, however, we can come to live in the midst of the complexity and even the pain of contradiction, we may, as Palmer asserts, learn a larger truth than we had dreamed, live lives larger than we had ever imagined. We might, just for a moment, enter the mystery of God.
Oh, God, help us to hold the tension in the contradictions of our lives for whatever we need to learn there of wisdom and of love. Amen."
Devotion Author: Dr. Pat Saxon, Prayer Ministry Volunteer