Creation in Travail

There are many different visions of the future. Sometimes the future seems fearful and we fear we are going towards a national dictatorship, and that there are wars and mangled lives and tortured souls in so many places in the world, we might not see any hope of peace to anchor ourselves for.  But these verses in Romans remind us that hope is not based on what we see but what we believe can happen in the best of all worlds.  Imagine a world that you would hope could come to fruition at some point.  (Pause)  Now keep that hope in the forefront of your mind, as well as to the recesses. (Pause) Can YOU take steps to make that dream a reality today?  We might not be able to control our government, but we can control our deportment.  We can be someone who brings joy to the world.  We can bring light.  Sometimes it is as easy as smiling at a stranger or letting the guy to your left go first at the four way stop because he looks hurried.  There are no substitutes as strong as random acts of kindness and a good and hopeful attitude.

          It is no different now that when Romans was written.  This new world of paradise has not yet been birthed.  And as we approach mother’s day today, we can relate to the labor that might have made your mom your mom. We were all born. But as those of us who have been through Lamaze or experienced the work of a doula, patience through the hard labor pains is vital to the mother and the child. Fighting the pains can lead to many different bad outcomes, so it is important to stay patient and focus on the new about to be brought into the world.

          So it is with our hope.  We might not see anything to hope for, but the verses in Romans tell us that if we could see a glimpse of it, it would no longer be hope.  So in the travail of labor of the a possible new paradise you envisioned, we have to remain as calm as possible, but be as progressively active as possible.

          William Penn wrote, “True godliness does not draw men [and women] out of the world but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it.”

As Quakers we are encouraged to bring quietness to most situations, to remove distractions that might keep God’s voice from being heard clearly. 

          The day of a sustainable world where all people care for one another deeply, authentically and intentionally may be our vision of Paradise.  In this vision we have found a way to live in rhythm with creation rather than exploiting it.  But that is our hope, and hopes don’t just come true like dreams. Our vision is what we hope for patiently and what we hope is being birthed one small contraction at a time which may feel like the troubles and failures of any life. And who feels these contractions but the world as a whole that according to Romans 8 is being brought into being. We know and consider on this day that childbirth is not easy. It is however progressive, and progressively uncomfortable. Becoming a mother and being a mother can be quite painful, yet incredibly wonderful.  So it is with our hopes of a new world in which there is even more hope that helps us to handle the pains of life’s progression forward toward those hopes coming true.  We have to begin by believing  in the hopes of a new world.

          Friends Council on National Legislation has a group of guidelines and beliefs that base how they interact with legislative bills and people.  These provide guides and help with setting priorities and steps towards meeting the goal of a better world called “The World We Seek.”.

          The World We Seek

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.

We seek a society with equity and justice for all.

We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled.

We seek an earth restored.

          We embrace our hopes when we pray as we are told to pray by Jesus and include in that prayer the magical and hopeful words, “On earth as it is in heaven.”  If we can envision a heaven we can have the hope to make it through whatever pain is involved in bringing that hope into a reality.

To help get to a world that is more on earth as it is in our vision of heaven, we have to put feet to our prayers and be willing to face the pain of a progressive movement into something new and better in this world.  Things cannot stay the same. Whether it is equal access to healthcare or just equity in general, or gender equality, maybe lack of wars and violent conflicts, or plenty of access to real education and freedom from all oppression, this takes hope, and pain, and then and only then can hope birth reality into being. 


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *