What does this new year and new decade hold for us? Hope or despair? New life, or destruction? How can we avert war with Iran? How can we restore representative government in our country? How can we save our planet from the unfolding climate crisis?
We are in new territory as a civilization, living in a world that would have been considered wildly imaginative science fiction just a few decades ago—with revolutionary new technologies and global interconnections through the internet and global threats of nuclear war, threats to the environment and a global refugee crisis, to name only some of the changes.
At the same time an increasing percentage of our society has given up on institutionalized religion’s ability to help us find our way through the new landscape of our lives.
Yet we have as much reason to hope as any generation ever had. The prophetic words of Isaiah echo through the ages:
“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness…. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare.”
Where do we begin, in the face of the enormity of these events, at the dawn of this new decade? It begins by taking a new journey, of rebirth, beginning with our own souls, and recognizing that we are all connected. It means choosing the road of hope tied to action. I resolve to live myself into hope, into a better year.
What does that look like? For me, it starts within my own soul and a conscious commitment to really see people beyond the societal labels assigned to them. It means I am determined to work for equity and justice believing I can make a difference. It means more kindness in each interaction and more listening to those whose views are different than my own. It means not letting bitterness or cynicism take root in me. It means turning my anger into the power of radical love. It means believing that every single one of us is called by name, as God’s beloved.