One of the blessings of being housebound has been to share world news in greater detail than I normally can – the floods, hurricanes, suffering and loss, wars, threats of wars, injustice, hatreds, prejudices, refugees and asylum seekers. It has been hard. Why do people hate others on account of religion or racial or national differences?
On Wednesday night I dreamed I was at the United Nations with Vladimir Putin, helping him with his speech. He was condemning (with my help) both the USA and North Korea for raising tensions, blaming them both for the situation: the USA for its war exercises with South Korea which threaten the North, and North Korea for its missile launches which unnerve the neighbouring countries. I woke up, unfortunately, before he gave the speech.
Do you ever imagine yourself giving an important speech? Who would listen? Who listens to anyone? Every seemingly important person must ask that question. Unless I threaten, he/she might think, who will listen? Are words so weak that only those who already agree with us are willing to listen? We watch debates in parliament, in the Brexit negotiations, at the United Nations and we know that most people listen to confirm their agreement or disagreement, not to change opinion or conviction.
Oppression and violence are the short-cut through words to action and results. So we have terrible conflicts and millions of refugees, terrible internal and national and international divisions.
Who will speak to our world? Will you? In our prayer you and I do not have to choose sides. We ask God to bless us to see goodness wherever we can, willing to learn from others very different from ourselves how to understand and listen.
Sincere prayer might open our minds and hearts in a way that argument and threats and violence do not. The wonderful peace-makers we glimpse in history and in our own day, who did not and do not encourage violence, show us a human way that the Gospel teaches is also the divine way.
God bless us to see the best in the human and divine ways of looking.
(10th September 2017)