Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman
The sacred hope of finding a new way of being human
We can all agree, it’s a new year. We know this because the calendar tells us so. As we agree on this simple truth, by fiat, we make it so. Now this is where resolutions become either trivial of significant.
The one common feature in all new years resolutions is hope. Somehow, we all have the capacity to hope for something that will make life better.
Almost everyone I hear from, tells me they hope this new year will be better than last year. As we measure our lives by teaspoons and calendars, so we are able to imagine a better world and a better life for ourselves and others. This shaping of our imagination by hope is really at the core of our ancient faith. It is this transfigured imagination, that is sometimes spoken of as the mind of Christ. With this mind, we enter into partnership with the creator and a deep connection with creation. It’s a partnership dedicated to waking up the divine consciousness in and among all people, so a new way of being human is envisioned and enacted.
This spiritual striving is more than a simple effort to subdue the desires of the body, it involves a deep, inventory on the life we have constructed for ourselves. In prayer, we can discover the scars that have created isolating fears. In prayer we can examine our enemies list and see how our love of being right leads us to dehumanizing others. In prayer we come to see ourselves in the honest light of the divine presence. But instead of finding condemnation (which we would likely mete out to ourselves), we find a loving parent who restores us with a healing hand.
For us to find this blessing of biblical proportions, we have to become practitioners of the very forgiveness we receive. The love that undergirds the universe is there for those who are able to be born from above, i.e. have had their souls subdued by grace. Without this forgiveness-centered life, we live in a world of endless recrimination and fear. The love of God is already here, it is just blocked out by dehumanizing acts and consequences of aggression and injustice.
So, for the disciple, the thought of a new year relates directly to the possibility of the sacred hope of finding a new way of being human. This nascent hope, leads to introspective and transformative prayer, which in turn, leads to soulful change. This change then begins to reverberate in our communities as forgiveness and peacemaking, allowing the free flow of divine love and justice to pour down like waterfalls.
Happy New Year and may the hope of the ages lead to a deepening joy, meaning and purpose in your life.