A NEW YEAR – AN OPPORTUNITY TO LIGHT THE WORLD WITH
Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
A little over a year ago, Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough
sent a message from the International Space Station, orbiting 200 miles above
the earth. He commented that “during the 90 minutes it takes to circle the
earth, the crew members did not see any borders or boundaries. From our vantage
point, solving the world’s problems seem less daunting.”
Now they have returned to a world where borders and
boundaries, disputes and wars, financial crises and growing unemployment and
homelessness plague our nation and our world. The view from above confirmed
their belief that another world is indeed possible. These problems were created
by humans over the years and they can and must be changed by humans across the
planet in order to create a more humane, compassionate and just world for the
whole human family. This awesome task begins in our minds and hearts and moves
from imagination to intention and finally, to action. It can involve all of us
from the very young to those advanced in years and start in small ways like a
spark that ignites a fire, it can grow and spread beyond our imagining.
Today there are thousands of young people who are
looking for ways to make a difference. They want to get involved to reduce
poverty and misery at home and abroad, to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, to
provide more jobs and health care and many other issues. Col. Shane Kimbrough
notes that “today there is a renewed courage that is sweeping the world. People
are dreaming boldly, and more importantly, they are ready to turn their dreams
into actions.” The question is can we work together with our young people and
direct them and help them make their dreams come true.
What would a transformed world look like?
It will begin with a deeper spiritual consciousness
that will help to heal and transform our world and restore a moral sense to
guide our individual and corporate lives in all the decisions we make. It will
be a world without wars, violence and poverty, where the economy is based on the
common good and not dependent on wars for its success and sustainability.
Michael Lerner talks about “a new bottom line that embodies the values we
profess, where the power of love will replace the love of power.” The
environment will be protected for generations still to come. There will be
ample opportunity for full human development for all people, including the
physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects. People will learn about
and respect others, across lines of culture, class, creed and other differences.
WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
1.We can start with young children and youth. Model
for them the values we want to implement, and teach them the values and habits
that are life-giving and responsible, Today, many children learn destructive
habits from the adults in their lives. Listen to the voices and hopes of our
youth in their search for community, spirituality and opportunities for service.
2. The business community, especially the young
professionals, can make a major contribution by sharing their gifts with the
community and modeling just, sustainable and responsible practices with the
common good in mind.
3. All of us can influence our elected officials to
redirect our national resources toward human needs such as health care, a good
education, housing and other basic needs so that all can enjoy a full human life.
War as a means of solving problems is not a viable way into the future. There
are peaceful means that have not been tried. We can practice conflict resolution,
starting with the very young and in all levels of society.
4. Practice care for the environment and use scarce
resources with moderation. “There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough
for everyone’s greed” said Gandhi. Children need adults to show them the way to
We need a responsible use of power, not power over but
power with, and help others claim their power that is God-given and rightfully
theirs. Then the power of love will be greater than the love of power.
5. Faith communities can model and promote justice in
all walks of life and reach out to the lost and forgotten and the despairing all
around them. Prayer too, is an important part of the solution.
There are many signs of hope. In a shattered economy,
more people are reaching out to help each other, to start small businesses and
farmer’s markets. Many are reaching in to the divine life and power always
available to us.
Rosenberg reminds us “what we do and say next will change the world.” Moral and
spiritual gifts are available to all of us for claiming and can release torrents
of hope and truth on our parched planet. Together we can create and sustain a
peaceful world. No contribution is too small. Even one small light placed in a
darkened room can light up the whole environment. You are invited to be that
light in a broken and often bleeding world. Let us begin this day with courage
and great hope.