Last Sunday was one of those Sundays where I had a moment of clarity. The music for the offertory was by Antonin Dvořák. It was a song from a set of 4 pieces by Dvořák and arranged for two cellos, piano and organ by our very own Allan Ross. It was beautiful beyond words and made me cry. By the way…don’t start crying if you sit in the choir loft during church. People think you are in the middle of a personal crisis breakdown and start to worry. But I digress. As I’m listening to the beauty filling the sanctuary I start thinking about how much beauty there is in the world. I start thinking about what may have been happening when Dvořák was composing this. Who was it written for, were politics involved (they often were), what was the social climate? In addition to the outside influences I think composers whom we label as genius were influenced spiritually whether they knew it or not. When composers like Mozart, Beethoven and the like composed works of art that are beyond genius as well as mathematically astounding I like to think that God reached into their minds and hands and made Himself present in this world, again, through their composition. Each time it is played the listener has the opportunity to experience the wonder of God and God’s creation.
Sitting in the choir loft during the service (tears welling up) I listened to the complexity of this beauty and a morbid thought struck me. Right then as I was experiencing profound beauty something awful was happening somewhere else in the world. Someone was suffering and in pain at the hands of another. How could a world that is filled with so much beauty be filled with so much hate? How could we take creation that was meant to be perfect in every way and trash it? How can we (by “we” I mean humankind) be trusted to do the right thing? We don’t exactly have a good track record. We’ve been screwing it up from the get go…how can we ever make this right? Will there ever be an end to our madness, our greed, anger, violence, jealousy? Our loneliness? How can we be trusted to do the right thing?
My mind turns back to the beauty. We have been given so much and been charged to take care and nurture it. Not only creation but each other. How can we be trusted to do the right thing? Whenever I ask myself this question it is usually after I see or hear something on the news that makes my heart ache. My heart aches not only for those affected but for all of humanity. You see, I truly believe that we all, every single one of us present and in the past, have it in us at our core the desire to do the right thing. I believe that because I believe we are all children of God, made in his image and God’s essence is a part of us trying to lead us back home. Many times we don’t listen to our true selves and when that happens horrible things occur, evil takes hold and we forget who we truly are. Then something beautiful happens to renew my faith in mankind and I’m reminded that deep down we all have it in us to the do the right thing.
In my opinion the most vulnerable thing on the face of the earth is a new born baby. Absolutely helpless and completely dependent on its mother for survival. Remember the worry and fear felt when taking a newborn home for the first time? You’re constantly watching his little chest rise and fall wondering when the baby police are going to come knocking saying that there has been a mistake and you have no place taking care of such a precious package. Now imagine that helpless, vulnerable package being born on dirt and quite possibly manure. You think things can go wrong in your clean home where you won’t even let your husband look at the baby without washing his hands first. Imagine what can go wrong trying to care for a baby when the concept of washing ones hands had not even been considered. God trusted us to take care of his most helpless gift. God placed that baby in the arms of a preteen girl and said Please take care of him for me. He has a very important job to do so please see that he makes it past infancy. I’m well aware of what the infant mortality rate is…but I trust you. I’ll be here every step of the way. I have faith in you.
If we can be trusted to take care of that baby then surely we can be trusted to take care of each other. God is there with us every step of the way to help us get it right. Is there any ugliness, any hate, any violence that is bigger than God? God put Gods-self in each and every single one of us and all we have to do is realize that. Love always wins. It may take eons but it will win. That is how I know we can be trusted to do the right thing.