Monday, November 15, 2021

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Scripture
We love because
God first loved us.
1 John 4:19

A Look at Joy
Joy Unspeakable
erupts when you
least expect it,
when the burden is greatest
when the hope is gone
after bullets fly.
It rises on the crest of impossibility,
it sways to the rhythm of
steadfast hearts and celebrates
what we cannot see.

This joy beckons us not as individual monastics but as a community. It is a joy that lives as comfortably in the shout as it does in silence. It is expressed in the diversity of personal spiritual disciplines and liturgical rituals. This joy is our strength, and we need strength because we are well into the twenty-first century, and we are not healed. How shall we negotiate postmodernity without inner strength?

How shall we address nihilism, debilitating health issues, and political regressions that threaten the community. Since the intensity of these afflictions has not been assuaged by our high-tech diversions or church-as-usual, I am suggesting a turn inward to face the inner conflicts and seeping psychic wounds that can no longer be ignored. I am also suggesting a turn toward the community, toward openness, intersectionality, and intercultural cooperation and solidarity. These public and private “turns” will improve our chances of bringing the beloved community into being.

We are in need of all our spiritual resources. Accordingly, as bell hooks suggests, we must seek an emancipatory spirituality, the soul’s guiding light in the midst of collective blindness. This light has never left us. We need only make the contemplative turn to restore our inner sight.

(From Barbara Holmes, “Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church”).

Prayer
Restore our inner light, O Lord.
Restore our inner strength.
Open us.
Turn us.
Free us.
Guide us.
Amen.