Rising Leader Series: Week 52 - Faith
New– Song for December. Listen => Mother Mary, Ordinary (on Mary’s, gentleness, courage, strength and trust)
THE MOMENT IS NOW
The moment is now. The onslaught’s begun
Come fast to the breach, come shore up the line
Take the flag, take the lead, rally and run
It’s love when you fight for justice divine
The moment is now. Need calls from the streets
Come as a servant, to work with the poor
Be bearer of hope to all whom you meet
So your good might give glimpses of God’s grandeur
The moment is now, brief visitor sublime!
Run to the sorrow; it hides in plain sight
Wait not for a more convenient time
For someone’s in need of your love tonight
You were born for this moment in history
See need, take wing, and fly to the mystery
Over two thousand years ago, in a desolate shed near Bethlehem, a child was born. Transcendent God humbled Himself, stepping down from Heaven to enter our world. God lived with us in human flesh for a fleeting moment, and the world was forever changed.
This Christmas, as we look upon the infant Jesus lying in some manger in some floodlit nativity scene, let us celebrate much more the birth of Christ in us. This is the birth that matters most. The star-over-Bethlehem epiphany story is meaningful if and only if it leads us to our own epiphany. Christ is in us in this right-now moment. Sense Him? He is the sap of love that pulses through us– the love that draws us back to our original goodness.
This is our faith. Our Christian faith, handed down through the ages. A faith to be grabbed onto, like a rock in the storm. It’s a faith that helps us, in the words of Brother Lawrence, to “slip back into that center.” Only in God is our soul at rest. Only in God may we be opened so completely that we step out of and beyond ourselves. Only in God may our circle of care become so wide it embraces the whole hurting world. Until our very lives become worship.
Great leaders can move mountains. Which is a good thing, because mountains must be moved. We are running out of time to turn the tide on climate change. Our world is closer to nuclear war than at any time in the past sixty years. We face clear and present threats to sacred American democracy. Bigotry, injustice and racial inequity are weakening too many communities. Houses of worship are shrinking inward as members flee the pews. Religious intolerance is fracturing civility. The need for charity is everywhere. For all these reasons, the time has come for all the myopic, timid, small-minded, self-absorbed, greedy, unprincipled leaders of the world to stand down. The torch must pass to a new generation of leaders.
But not just any leaders– ethical ones. Like you. To be an ethical leader takes discipline; for a Christian it takes prayer and deep soul-contemplation. Only there, in the silence of our hearts, will we begin to sense that God loves us infinitely. That He cares about every hair on our heads. Only there can we receive His light of truth– to better see our sins and sinful patterns, so we can repent. Only there can we receive His grace– that shackle-shattering God-love that sets us free. Only there can we hear, if we listen closely, the still, small whisper of His call– naming our purpose, our life meaning.
In my first letter to you at the beginning of this year, and again two weeks ago, I issued to you the following challenge:
Leader of goodness,
Go in faith
To love and heal the world
That’s it in a nutshell, good leader. Without God, we are lost and in the shadow of death. We become focused on ourselves– our egos. We shrink our circles of care. But with Him we are found; we are filled with new life. Faith renews us. We are born again so that we can bring rebirth to the world. Remember the disciplines of goodness? It all flows up:
It all begins with God. Lived faith (piety) is the foundation for a life of goodness. It stirs the fire of love, which moves us to stir the fire of change. Stir the fire, good leader. Let the embers of your love rise as beacons in the night sky. My generation is moving on. It’s up to you.
Dag Hammarskjold described it this way: “Hold out the chalice of your being to receive, to carry, and give back.”
Pray to God as Thomas Merton did: “The fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.”
Remember what Mother Teresa said: “God did not call me to be successful– He called me to be faithful.” The magnitude of your impact is not of your concern. Do your part, and leave the rest up to God.
You are the light this world so desperately needs. The moment is now. Step up, step out and give your all. Jesus is calling; you are the answer.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.-- John 3:16
Yours in Christ,
Previous Weeks' Letters: