Sometime we use images of rocks as calming elements, like the rocks in the photo above this post, reminiscent of the Japanese rock garden. Images that convey peace and calm. Other times rocks are thown. If you live in Canada then you have likely heard about the incident of someone throwing literal rocks at Justin Trudeau, unless, ahem, you live under a rock. I will not get into politics in this post, I have my opinions but this is not the place. I want to talk about the spiritual reality of our day that includes rock-throwing, and, most importantly, my conviction that we are communally to blame for where we are and there is hope in that idea because there are actions we can take.
I have had a whole bunch of conversations about this lately. The people in my circle, conservative, liberal, and greenies alike, are aghast that we have come to this; that in Canada someone would throw a rock at someone else, be they Prime Minister or unhoused. It leaves us dismayed and trying to understand.
When did we become this place? I hear that and similar questions regularly. People stand amazed and disgusted as protests take place in front of hospitals, we stand back and shake our heads and wonder what is going on, as violence, division, anger, and the darkest forms of certainty raise their ugly heads.
Here is the thing.
It is all of our fault.
There is no they VS us.
There is just us.
There used to be a bumper sticker that said “we all live downstream” I have always loved that because it applies in so many ways. Literally when it comes to water pollution we all lose and also when it comes to other concrete forms of pollution. It also matters spiritually, we all live downstream from each other. A person gets yelled at at work and—after a long chain of degrading actions—a cat gets kicked at home…the negativity reverberates and the ground cries out.
So, we all live down stream and Justin Trudeau is having rocks thrown at him.
If we want to live in a compassionate society, the society of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, we cannot sit back and wait in expectation of this happening by miracle, no, the gospel is clear that this only happens with intentionality, with the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men (and yes I will stick to men because I am old school enough to assume our rock-throwers are men).
The actions we see playing out are nothing more or less than the outcome of our communal actions or lack thereof.
It is incumbent upon each of us to do as the Teacher says, love one another.
One of my absolutely favourite meditations is, I think it is actually buddhist but I see nothing that should stop a Christian from praying it, “I breathe in love, I breathe out peace.” Feeling the love of God, being empowered by love instead of fear, or anxiety or hatred or any other emotion I become free to be an agent of peace, to offer healing, wholeness and compassion, empathy and understanding. First I try to literally breath this into existence, it sounds weird but there is more to this than meets the eye, as bizarre studies have shown. For me the concrete actions involved in helping or serving others starts with the meditative act, “I breathe in love, I breathe out peace.”
When we ignore our spiritual disciplines we rob the entire world of our prayers and of the ways they reverberate in our souls and our actions and the ripple-effect of wide and wider circles of love.
Maybe you don’t believe any of this. Well, I don’t know why you would still be reading:) Still, maybe consider giving this a try. 5 minutes a day “I breathe in love, I breathe out peace.” And see what happens. It can’t hurt.