by Susan Oxle
Beyond the Walls, July 17, 2022
How can we cry for justice, when we don't have a vision for what justice looks like? Whether you are focused on the violence in the world, or the need for the healing of creation, what gives us hope — radical hope — is holding onto God's vision for the future. Hope is built on our own past experiences in the world, just as it is. So we have to begin radical hope by looking squarely at reality and loving God’s Creation, just as is. To “love” Creation is to wish the very best for this broken reality, and to acknowledge that to achieve that best may cost me something — but I want the best anyway.
Only when we “love” the world, wanting the best for it, can we be moved to initiate action that will change the reality that exists, and move toward the Reign of God, which is the sacredness of creation as God intends for it to be. Radical Hope looks beyond the horizon to a future held firmly in God’s hands. You live your life and make right choices designed to bring about that future, whether you will ever see it or not. And you rejoice in every faithful step taken toward that goal. I’d like you now to join with me in a prayer for the future God intends and the challenges we face in moving toward it.
Creating God, We know the world which exists at this moment falls far short of your peaceful reign. We stagger under the crises that we have ourselves created:
the violence that tears apart our neighborhoods and families
the wars that ravage the countryside and kill the innocents
the political divisions that prevent leaders from working together for the benefit of all
the woundedness of creation, as it struggles with imbalances in environment and our waste of resources
the abuse of power and the desperate drive for luxury and comfort that underlies so much of the damage we are doing to the planet and peoples.
God of justice and wholeness, We are a violent and self-centered people, in spite of our desire to follow Jesus Christ and be a part of your new creation. We long for peace in the brokenness of political systems, economic instability, and shifting societal norms. We yearn for a wholeness that aligns with your vision for Creation and for humanity. We envision a green and growing world of abundant resources, and people who are gentle and respectful of all creation. We know we have damaged the earth. Our greed for resources and luxuries has caused an imbalance in Creation’s careful equilibrium. Forgive us and help us see how we can add to the healing of the earth.
We have not taken the time to truly discern your vision for new creation. Show us that vision, so each of us from our own perspective can grasp the power and beauty of what might be. Inspire us to make the changes that are necessary to achieve your vision. Disrupt us with insights concerning our own lifestyles, attitudes and actions. Give us the courage to advocate for systemic changes that will bring peace and wholeness. We know change begins with small steps. We recommit ourselves to the path of generosity, peace, and justice that must be built each day. God, your work and vision beckon us. May it be so, now, today. In Christ’s name, Amen.