By Ken Sehested
Almost every breakthrough begins with a breakdown. Goodness is not thereby assured; then again, neither is our breath, day by day.
We hope to be effective; but our perseverance is not hitched to efficacy. We insert ourselves, compassionately and intelligently, because that’s who we are. (Or at least who we are becoming.)
The little flock of Jesus has a larger, farther horizon. If and when we are faithful, it is only because we have heard and heeded the Word considered “foolish” by the logic of the world as is now constituted.
Beloveds, things are not as they seem. Live-streamed tragedy saturating the airwaves encourages voyeurism (translated: advertisers’ dollars) and blistered rage. Cast your gaze higher, farther, wider, deeper. Allow the Beloved to adjust your sight, to steel your engagement, to strengthen your weak knees, to introduce you to the joy sturdy enough to outlive every night of weeping.
Wait for, work for, intercede for Another Voice, the Paraclete, who is available to those without a prayer, to the indigent of heart, to the unarmed and the unassuming, to those not distracted by the propagandists and racketeers.
They who now prance among the princes of deceit know not that their sun is setting, their time is up. Heaven’s blessing on Earth’s creation has been suppressed but not recanted.
Even now, the advance guard of the new Heaven and the new Earth are breaching the empire’s walls of exclusion and treachery. (New York City’s famed Wall Street, the global center of financial piracy, was in colonial times literally the location of a wall to protect the southern parts of the peninsula from Native Americans.)
So take your cues from the Comforter. She will silence every threat, unravel every peril, forestall every danger, to safekeep your heart from every disquieting murmur.
Fret not over your breath, whether it can be stopped. It is merely on loan, and will be replenished by the self-same Breath who tamed the squalling waters before the first dawn’s light.
For now, watch and wait. For now, let the groans of your heart channel the moans from the streets, from the pandemic survivors’ grief, from every traumatized body and furrowed heart.
Locate your body near theirs. Intercede with loud protestations, with patient works of mercy, with unflinching demands for justice.
Practice penitence, which alone offers the chance to heal wounds, renew covenant bonds, and halt history’s march toward tragedy. Perform Pentecost, whose edict privileges the commonweal over corporate avarice. Harness yourself to love’s demand, whose power alone can turn back the tide of fear-fomented vengeance.
Always, always remember: more is at work than what passes for the news.
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Ken Sehested is curator of prayerandpolitiks.org, an online journal at the intersection of spiritual formation and prophetic action.