“The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.” Hosea: 3rd Advent
The first heavy snow of the season continues for the fifth day to lay its carpet on the trees and land here. Life slows as we older ones go toward the wood stove and its hot embers. Parts of the state have lost power and the shovel is under cover as we wait for the storm to pass. “The wilderness” of snow and ice, “will lead you to your heart where I will speak.”
“We are the wilderness generation,” said Herbert O’Driscoll to us thirty years ago. The task of the wilderness generation was to lose their gods and to find their God. The wilderness generation seems to be extended from one generation to the other. The task of the current wilderness generation is to find our way in the confusion of voices as they vie for our attention and trust: to lose their gods and to find their God.
Some of the old voices that are slipping away are those of racism, homophobia, sexism, ethnic hatred, and fundamentalism. The old order is rapidly dying and it has been dying for some time now. And in its death throws it amasses its voices of intolerance and fear. Each new ethnic group that arrived on these shores had to make some scapegoat worse off then they. The police who see some terrible violence done to others and in their ranks sometimes become a tool in this victimization. We have had in place community policing for at least a generation. We know it works. Where it is used, where the police get to know the neighborhood, we see crime decline.
Now the military has sent its excess weaponry to local police districts. Even towns in Vermont have inherited Humvees, night vision goggles and heavy weapons. The old order is arming itself because it can sense it is blowing away as the society begins to understand that the boundaries that falsely seemed to keep us secure are falling away.
White people bridle at the idea that we are privileged. The evidence of how different whites are treated by the police as compared to minorities is conclusive. The numbers of Black men in our prison system in relation to the percentage of their numbers in our society is unquestionably disproportionate. Yet privileged we are.
Mary’s, Isaiah’s and John’s cry for justice for the poor and the hungry, the powerless poor as we used to call them, is focused for me by Hosea’s words: “The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.” Here in our wilderness generation we are becoming aware of the heart where the holy speaks to us. We may not call it that. It may be called intuition, a sixth sense, a lightness of being, enlightenment, or awakening and in that wilderness when the old order of the mind slowly or suddenly flies away, we can see that those who are before us, all beings, are each one a child and creation of the divine. Each one is connected and entitled by their birth and their presence to be among the privileged children of earth, a beloved child of God. And so are we. How we care for and bless the creation by our presence is one of the tasks before us. The time when we can make all false distinctions are past and done. As Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying at the beginning of our revolution, “Either we will hang together or certainly we will hang separately.”