As we enter the coldest darkest part of the year many of us might be asking questions about the state of the world. Are the doomsday predictions actually correct? How can we discern what is at work in world events? Between the increase of natural disasters and social unrest it becomes more and more difficult to find a quiet place to stand at peace with world as we say we would in the communion prayer of The Act of Consecration. Is there an increase in the forces of manipulation and deception separating humanity or are other forces beginning to show their effects?A melting pot to focus our discernment at the moment is the Middle East and the death of Osama bin Laden. The war against terror has reached it imagined outcome, yet is that really what was going on? There are other possible ways to read the situation in that there are signs of a more moderate outlook on the world. Ex American-Iraq veterans are speaking about the terror they were forced to inflict upon civilians in the name of justice. Islamic theologians and civilians are publishing books that signal a reformation within Islamic culture calling the world to see that not all of Islam is fundamentalist and that most Islamic people distance themselves from the war mongers. Key philosophical and religious responses are emerging in the God debate putting a break on unquestioned scientific atheism. Is there a push, albeit a fairly aggressive one, to uphold a more moderate position on political and religious stances in the world? Has the time come when the world says; stop pushing a dogged one-sided opinion on to us, let us find a place to stand at peace with one another?
Some of these questions may be too big to answer and it is possible to feel overwhelmed by the immensity of life and the insignificance of one person’s contribution. There is an old saying; ‘as above so below’. In the face of what happens in the world that could make us wonder what is going on in the spiritual world. However, if we pause for a moment we can also listen with a new ear to the words of The Act of Consecration again and realise that the standing at peace with the world is an activity I must bring to the grace given by Christ. We have to find the strength to wrest ourselves from the load of the world’s events and find an inner stance that can add to the world’s evolving. This means we can change the old philosophy or Christianise the old ways, and say; as below so above!’ Or as Gandhi said; ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’
We can bring our sphere of influence down to the phenomenon in our own lives and ask ourselves where we need to change our ideas about what is needed by us in the community. Ideas have consequences. The world is a bad place if we think it is so and a place of opportunity for growth and transformation only if we deem it so. The call of St. John in the loneliness of the soul to change our ways has implication for our lives, the life of the community, the world and the activity of the spiritual world.