The details of the day swirl around my mind like lazy snowflakes. As I write this, a young journalist, Joshua Wolf of San Francisco, California, has been in jail for about half a year for protecting his sources, the longest imprisonment of any American journalist. Wolf is a freelance video blogger. Last summer he covered a protest march in the city and the government wanted him to name the people in his video record, who were wearing masks. He refused, feeling that without the ability to maintain trust with his sources, he could not do his job well.
Josh has done nothing wrong and yet he may well stay in jail another six months, until the grand jury now empanelled decides that they have gotten from Josh all the information he is willing to share. Until such time his lawyers can do nothing to free him from prison.
It is a mark of interesting times when the government seeks to create lists of agitators and then persecute them, rather than the government embracing the free press which is called for in our Constitution.
In an interview I heard on the news program, Democracy Now, this week, Josh expressed no bitterness about this treatment. He says that it simply points out that our government is at a crucial decision point. Shall it act as a controller of the news that reaches our ears? Shall the government be able to manage the news in the Orwellian fashion depicted in his novel, 1984? Or shall it support a free and ornery press?
Humorously enough, the judge involved states that Josh is a reporter only in his imagination. Meanwhile Josh has just been named Journalist of the Year by The Society of Professional Journalists for "for upholding the principles of a free and independent press". Josh clearly has a vivid imagination!
I was pondering this story, thinking about Josh's dignity and the value, in general, of acting upon our beliefs as my husband and I sat down to make our Morning Offering this morning. Synchronicities swirled in as we shared our various readings.
In the New Testament we had come to the Gospel of John. Jesus is standing before a thoroughly reluctant Pontius Pilate. In the text today, we heard this:
"Pilate there said unto him, "Art thou a king then?"
"Jesus answered, "You sayest that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hearest my voice."
"Pilate saith unto him, "What is truth?"
That's a very good question! What, indeed, is true? In the worldly sense, truth seems relative and largely lost in the eddies of worldly conversation. Yet in the deeper and more spiritual sense, we all, I think, have a good grasp on our truth. Another book we are reading in Morning Offering, titled Advent with Evelyn Underhill, chimed in to agree with this comment:
"It is no use being too clever about life. Only so far as we find God in it do we find any meaning in it. Without Him it is a tissue of fugitive and untrustworthy pleasures, conflicts, ambitions, desires, frustrations and intolerable pain."
In seeking our truth, then, we can safely abandon clever rationales and go to that source of truth which we find in spirit, however we may think of that powerful source of transcendent values and ideals. My husband's prayer, offered each day at the Gaia Meditation we share in the evening, is, "May I seek the Creator, see the Creator and serve the Creator in everyone I meet." That laying down of one's intellectual forces in order to see, seek and serve the sacred is a movement from trust in the kingdom of this world to trust in the kingdom beyond it.
What does this have to do with me? For I am only one person, disabled by rheumatoid disease and presently wearing adult diapers as I learn to cope with interstitial cystitis. There is nothing grand about my circumstances except the incredible wattage of love that fills my environment: the love of husband, family and friends; the love of the one infinite Creator; the love of me for myself that enables me to lift above the physical discomfort of the moment to focus upon my deeper work today.
A third book we are reading in Morning Offering, entitled Handbook for the New Paradigm, offered this wisdom today:
"It is your resolve to bring this new archetype of experience into being that holds the progress made in place so that the building of the pattern can continue.
"Visualize the pattern of a snowdrop only now beginning to crystallize from a drop of water. Just the very beginning of one corner of what will be a unique picture is happening. You are not only watching the creation of something uniquely beautiful, you are providing the focus that will cause it to happen."
I am providing - we all are providing - the focus for the formation of new and healing ideas that can help us shift our consciousness from the worldly to the sacred, in order that we may help to create a new experience of the world for those who come after us. As we resolve to serve the Creator and offer our gifts in service to others, we maintain that focus which believes that a whole new world is possible.
In the Old Testament this morning, we were reading the first chapter of Second Chronicles, and chiming right in with the theme for the day in my own inner life, came King Solomon. Offered anything he wishes by the Lord, he says, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge".
As I write, my morning has swirled from the chapel to the office. My intention today in writing this article was to look more deeply at last week's discussion of dignity and worth.
Last week, I challenged you to stand up and act, where you see action being necessary.
This week, I challenge you as well as myself to look to the precious inspiration and information which the spirit always has on hand in this present moment. That spiritual guidance which can seem so far away if we lose track of who we are is right here. And the hymn which came up for singing in today's Morning Offering says just that.
The words, by J. M. Neale, are:
"If I ask him to receive me, will he say me nay?
Not till earth and not till heaven pass away.
Finding, following, keeping, struggling, Is he sure to bless?
Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs answer, 'Yes.' "
It is easy to get lost in the swirl of daily events. Setting aside special times for spiritual seeking, as Jim and I do with our Morning Offering and our Gaia Meditation in the evenings, is one way of coming in from the chilly cleverness of the world and finding ourselves at home in our open hearts.
It is easy for us to doubt our own worth. Coming back to the fundamental realization of ourselves as souls, part of the Godhead principle and citizens of eternity, restores to us our dignity and self-worth. We can dream and imagine. We can love unstintingly the world that we see before us. We can ask the spirit to create us anew, that the forces of compassion and wisdom may remake this weary world.
I open my arms and embrace your spirit. May you feel empowered this day, whatever your circumstances, to offer your very best love to the world, regardless of outer events. May you sense your infinite worth. May you dream a new world into being, a bit at a time, until the new crystalline pattern emerges in all our hearts, perfect in love and understanding.