My beloved Mt. Tam Church,
In The Book of Joy, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama offers an incredible perspective on his exile from Tibet and the persecution of his people by the Chinese government: “The Dalai Lama has discussed the importance of a wider perspective when he was telling us about how he was able to see the calamity of losing his country as an opportunity. It was jaw-dropping to hear him “reframe more positively” the last half century of exile. He had been able to see not only what he had lost, but also what he had gained: wider contact, new relationships, less formality, and more freedom to discover the world and learn from others. Therefore, he said if you look from one angle you feel, “oh, how bad, how sad.” However, if you look from another angle at that same tragedy and event, you would see that is gives me “new opportunities.” The Book of Joy suggests eight pillars of joy, of which the first is perspective. It’s a lesson I’ve learned all too well, over and over in my life. Probably true for you as well.
The present events in our world and country, such as the pandemic, mass protests, demonstrations against police brutality, systemic racism, and the divided vindictive political and social reality painfully reveals how perspective is everything right now. From the perspective of a “law and order” citizen, the present must appear chaotic and out of control. From the perspective of those who have been targets and victims of racial profiling, prejudice, and violence, current events may be a cry of liberation. This reminds me of the old adage that “what you see depends on from where you see it, where you stand.” Where are the people of Christ called to stand in these times?
Jesus was clearly on the side of the oppressed and marginalized, victims of violence and prejudice. He himself was from a minority within a minority people, his nation cruelly controlled by a foreign power. He died a violent state execution at the hands of a violent government. His vision of bringing about the kingdom of God—God’s peace, God’s justice, God’s hope—only began with him. He commissioned his followers to be co-creators of that realm here on earth. That’s where we are called to stand, from where we see all that is about us, seeing and being in the world as the Body of Christ. As God’s people, how do you see what is happening? What perspective are we called to embrace in order to demonstrate the power of God’s justice love and joy? How are we to take action?
This Sunday we’ll focus on perspective, both in how it can help us build our joy and how our perspectives in this world make a difference in the justice and joy of the world.
CALLING ALL GRADUATES!
If you have a graduate in your family this spring, please let us know! We plan on celebrating graduates in worship with a special blessing prayer on June 21.
Email Pastor Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.