Humankind is a profoundly perplexing species. A species so unique, we are capable of God consciousness. We can ponder, and answer to the best of our abilities, the deepest mysteries about ourselves and the universe. We can piece together the ministry of a two-thousand-year-old movement. A movement of peace and justice. A movement that allows us to find redemption from our past, in our present, to create a better future for all of God’s creation. A creation we are capable of filling with such beautiful moments in time through art, music, poetry, and dancing. However, we are also a species full of inverse reactions and possibilities. It is for this very reason that we require reminder after reminder after reminder. It is one of the reasons we celebrate Advent every year. Being reminded of Advent, on an annual basis, keeps us from walking in darkness. When we remind ourselves that love is patient, love is kind, this keeps us from walking in darkness. We say the Lord’s Prayer every week to keep us from walking in darkness.
This is the duality with which we live as humans, as yin and yang. We are both light and dark, illumination and shadow. It is important to clarify that this concept is not as simple as “light = good” and “dark = bad”. A blueberry does not have a cosmic curse placed on it because of its dark color any more than a blue jay is flying free in the sky because its shade of blue is much lighter. It is about the absence of light. Darkness is a place where chaos and uncertainty can flourish. It is our choice whether we allow chaos and uncertainty to flourish. This is why we need the reminders, so we can be cognizant of our choices. You see, we can embrace our darkness and filter it through many means of activity. Through study, problem solving, generosity, creativity, love, patience, forgiveness, and mercy, we bring light from the darkness.
Max Richter is a composer/musician that I have been following since 2016. His music is painfully beautiful. It does not shy away from merging light with shadow. He uses a creative lens to find meaning and purpose with the darkness he senses, to find light in the great, dark void. Because we live in a world where so many are lost in darkness, his music evokes a sensation that seems to exist on a higher plane. It is quite simply overwhelming. It is in these moments that we have to hold fast to the reminders. We cannot retreat and exist safely hidden within our human shells. We need to exist on the outside, vulnerable for all to see, so that we can be a light for those lost in the darkness.
Today is Human Rights Day. It is a reminder that we all continually need. Human rights exist without a political or ideological slant. They simply are. They exist, and when we deny that, we are placing ourselves above someone else. Recently, I heard this idea about the radical center. I immediately thought about the duality of our nature, and that the most radical place for us to exist is in the center of our conflicted selves. The closing article from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says something similar. It says, “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” A complete copy of the declaration is included with this devotional, as a PDF. I encourage you to download it and read it.
Tonight at 8:00 pm on WFMT (98.7 FM), Max Richter is presenting his new piece of music, Voices. Aside from the incredibly powerful music, the text heard throughout the piece is taken from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Another reason to download the declaration, as you will be able to follow along with it. Here is the opening movement from Voices if you would like a preview. https://www.youtube.com/embed/QmrIDK03Hlg
Throughout the season of Advent, year after year, we are continually reminded that Jesus came for all people. I hope that you will remind yourself through study, problem solving, generosity, creativity, love, patience, forgiveness, and mercy, that you too can bring light from the darkness, for all people. Amen.