Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Beauty in a Storm

Today I was browsing through YouTube and stumbled upon a sermon of all things (since my settings do not lean toward topics religious), and found myself listening to it: David Brooks' Sunday sermon at Washington National Cathedral, July 5, 2020.

Maybe I was drawn to it because I have just finished re-reading one book and am slowly re-reading another that have large sections devoted to descriptions of life in the time of Jesus' ministry. It was a violent time in that land. If you heard someone preaching to the common folk, it was more than likely vitriol tossed at the Roman occupiers. Into that, came Jesus with a message of love; so incongruous.

Perhaps I felt I had to keep listening to the sermon because it has seemed to me that a country I have admired all my life is imploding - so sad to watch. I cannot see a way out for them.

The sermon was given by a columnist, but very clearly, too, by one who loves Jesus and what Jesus stood for. Brooks also obviously loves his country. I cannot imagine him as ultra right wing in his faith or nationalism. Yet here is a steady faith in both, and, especially, in love as a way to get past this storm. 

I think I like him very much.

Some quotes from this sermon:

"When you see Jesus through the Jerusalem lens, the Beatitudes are even more astounding. In the midst of conflict, here was another way, another path, a higher serenity. They were an inversion of values. They were beauty in the storm."

"... in storms, it seems we have two systems of response. We have the normal bodily response, which is fight or flight, fear and anger. But another style of response emerges from our souls."

"On one level, these acts of beauty and pure gift and loving care are radically illogical. They are vulnerability in the face of danger. They are gentleness in the midst of bitterness. They are compassion in the midst of strife, but these are the acts that have the power to shock. These are the acts that have the power to open hearts. These are the acts that have a power to shock a revolution in our culture and in our consciousness."

"We don’t get to choose our condition. We do get to choose our response."