We can make things better by the quality of our living in relation to them. We can change the way the world relates to us by changing the way we relate to the world. We can change the way other people relate to us by changing the way we relate to them. We are the fulcrum, the pivot point, the place of leverage, which transforms civilization. But, we can’t do it alone. In the absence of the right kind of company, we can only do what can be done to escape the toxic environment of poisonous personalities, and search out “the promised land,” where the right kind of people offer the right kind of help in the right kind of way, Sometimes, all we can do is hold on and wait it out.
The man in the ditch was holding on and waiting it out when the Good Samaritan came along. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” “When the flower opens, the bees appear.” But, waiting can seem like forever. And, we can “miss the time of (our) visitation.” We can miss the Messiah by looking for the wrong thing.
“You never know what the tide will bring in,” goes the line from the movie Cast Away. And, you never know what you can use in the work of transformation. So, we have to hold on, and wait it out, and be awake. We have to be alert to the possibilities. We have to be aware that the Messiah comes in many disguises, and is not easily recognized. How many Jews would have guessed that the Messiah would be a Samaritan? Yet, who pulled the Jew out of the ditch and cared for him? The future hinges on such simple things. On such easily overlooked things. On such apparently disposable, throw-away, things. We can miss the thresholds to the future thinking that this is only breakfast.
Every moment holds the key to all the moments that will follow. How we live in this moment, what we do in this moment, colors all other moments. How can we see the moment? Be aware of the moment? Do right by the moment? The moment is the place of transition, of transformation, and WE are the Messiah! WE are the Samaritan! We wait for what is coming to life in us, and through us. The hope of the world resides in us, rides on us, and how we respond to the moment of our living.
There are no tactics to bring into play here. There is no strategy. Here is our life. Live it. That’s the plan. Do what we can with it. That’s the ticket. We’re always quitting because we think nothing can be done with this old life. We think we have to have some other, bigger, better, finer life, with fewer headaches and a lot more possibilities. We think we need prospects. We’re always trying to ditch this life and hook up with another. We’re always hoping for a life in which we can “really live,” and blusing because this life isn’t it. We’re always praying to God to give us a life, and waiting for the Messiah to come.
The Messiah is going to change things, you know. The Messiah is going to change everything. It’s all going to be different when the Messiah comes. The Messiah is going to give us a life we can do something with. The Messiah is going to give us a chance.
We don’t have a chance now. Anybody can see that. Ain’t nothing can be done with these old lives. Why a turtle wouldn’t wear these lives. A cockroach couldn’t survive in these lives. These lives ain’t fit for nothing but waiting out the Messiah.
When the Messiah comes it will all be different. We’ll have a reason to get up in the morning when the Messiah comes. Things will go our way when the Messiah comes. Then we can plant and expect to harvest, harvest and expect to sell. Then we envision an outcome and work to achieve it, and nothing will happen to untrack us or derail us. The children will say, “Yes, Mamma,” and “Yes, Poppa,” to everything we suggest. The bear will eat straw like the ox. The lion will lie down with the lamb. And, it will be just like we always dreamed it would be. When the Messiah comes.
Until then, there is only this old life in this old world. And, anyone can plainly see that nothing can be done on this hard scrabble land until the Messiah comes. The Messiah will make it all worthwhile. Until then, there is nothing much to do but sit. And wait. For the Messiah. Who is coming.
“Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on? Could it be a faded rose from days gone by? And did I hear you say, he was meeting you here today, to take you to his mansion in the sky?”
The church is Delta Dawn, waiting on the wrong Messiah. The thing from which we need to be delivered is not this old life, or this old world, but the attitude that thinks deliverance is an outside job effected by the Messiah who is coming on the clouds with legions of angels to set things right, and roll out the red carpet, and invite us to stroll with him into the City of God and its streets of gold. The Messiah comes to us from within us.
Here’s the deal: We are alchemists of the soul, rummaging around on the garbage dumps of life, turning base metal and scraps of old clothing and pieces of string and plastic into precious stone—turning this old life in this old world into a wonder that Very God of Very God could not improve. We are the Messiah. And the Philosopher’s Stone which turns mere mortals into the very essence of God is the magical source of life, and light, and peace (and all the other wonderful qualities and values that make us god-like), our perspective. We are never more than a perspective shift away from being the Messiah, the Anointed One, God Incarnate. God comes to life in us, through us, in the moment we are living, or not.
And, if we think we can throw this time, any time, away because it isn’t to our liking, because it doesn’t suit us, because there is nothing for us here, because it is only blocking us from what we want, and where we want to be, and how we want to spend your time, we have to wake up! We have to ask ourselves what is the time, the moment, of our living, asking of us? With what are we being asked to comply? Is that a Jew in the ditch over there? Do you think the Samaritan didn’t have better things to do? We must not miss the moment thinking there is nothing in this moment for us. What are we for in the moment? How might we live in this moment in ways which transform all future moments? We influence every moment by the way we live in each moment. There is always more to each moment than meets the eye. No moment is ever “only breakfast.”
We can swing the moment, each moment, toward, or away from, the good. Actually, that is a bit over-stated. Some moments come to us with such momentum that we are steamrolled and overwhelmed, and left wondering what happened before we know what hit us. We can only work in the aftermath of some moments to influence future moments for the good. But, we can apply the influence that changes the future in what appears to be the throw-away moments of our lives. The idea is to live in every moment as though it is our big chance to change the world—as though what we do here and now matters infinitely and eternally. If we are going to believe anything, we should believe in our capacity to bring the Messiah to life in the moment by the way we live in the moment.
Here are the questions: Whose permission do we need to do what needs to be done? Whose cooperation do we need to do what needs to be done? What needs to be done? What is stopping us from doing it? And: What can we do, here, now, with this situation, to enjoy what can be enjoyed, love what can be loved, redeem what can be redeemed, and serve the good? How can we live with this in ways that bring forth the best? What can we do, here, now, to make things as good as they can be?
Here’s the deal: Where do we go with what is carrying us along? Our lives have a certain direction and flow, a certain channel, which restricts our options and limits our choices. We cannot do anything we want to do. We are bound by forces that have no interest in our desires or well-being. What can we do with our lives within the restrictions and limitations of life—within the conditions and circumstances of life? We imagine a life worth living, and then live toward it within the givens and constraints of living Sometimes we meet with cooperation, sometimes with opposition; sometimes assistance, sometimes resistance. Who knows if it will work out, or how? We press on toward the best we can imagine, and see what happens. We live as intelligently as we can manage in the service of our dreams, and let the outcome be the outcome. But, we cannot allow the possibility of failure keep us from trying. We owe it to ourselves to see what our dreams can do with our limits.