Sunday, August 2, 2020

This Too Shall Pass

This story is found in Muslim, Roman and Jewish folklore. It is about a king who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. Like Solomon of Ecclesiastes and Julius Caesar of Rome, nothing satisfied him. A time came when the king despaired of life. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom. The king asked him, "Can you give me wisdom that will bring serenity into my life? I will pay any price."

The wise man said, "Your entire kingdom would not be sufficient payment, but I will give it as a gift." The wise man returned a few weeks later and handed the king an ornate box. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring. Inscribed on the ring were the words: This too shall pass. The wise man explained, "Wear this ring. Whatever happens, good or bad, read the inscription. That is the way to inner peace.”

This is the wisdom that I need during these turbulent times. There are times I despair for the future of our nation. I see the foundations of our beloved democracy being undermined by a president without moral principles, who cares for nobody and nothing. It has resulted in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. It has encouraged the vilest racism and hate. As a Christian I have watched Evangelicalism, which I once loved as my spiritual home, turn into a false prophet and prostitute itself to the beast in the White House. I despair for the future of American Christianity and the United States.

Then in prayer I return to the Divine Center of my soul and hear the words: This too shall pass. This arrogant strongman, this “man of lawlessness,” will be brought low. White Evangelicalism will be exposed for the counterfeit faith it is. The arc of the moral universe still bends toward justice. I see this hope already at work in the Black Lives Matter and the MeToo Movements. “Justice will flow like water, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.”

For that reason “I will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” God’s kingdom will come, his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s kingdom always prevails against autocrats and demagogues. History shows that bullies fall hard, and this Twitter-bully will also. If not in November, then soon enough. Truth is stronger than lies. Love is stronger than hate.

We need only have faith and hope, be patient and persevere. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” These are promises of God. In the meantime, we can live in God’s peace now, allowing it to reign in our hearts, if not yet in the world. As the Desiderata says, “whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.”

This too shall pass. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  That is the nature of Reality. May peace be our everyday conscious reality and not this impermanent, changing shadow play of the world. We need only play our part wholeheartedly and trust the rest to God. And always remember: this too shall pass.

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