The year was 1968, and I was a stay at home mom raising two toddlers along with my consciousness of what it means to be a mother. There was other consciousness training going on. It was the start of the feminist movement. Coupled with rising racism, social unrest, the Vietnam war and assassinations of noted leaders, it was an infamous year where consciousness might have been raised a few inches and for a while. But, as we struggle in this virulent, violent time, we know humanity has a long way to go in consciously living out the abundant life God calls us to.
Sages of old noted, 'There's nothing new else coined, 'History under the sun. Someone repeats itself.' Half a century later, this appears to be true. Trying to explain the Corona Virus, data gatherers have pointed out other pandemics and plagues every 100 years. Justified wars go on and on with inexplicable cause. Social contracts get adulterated with racist clauses. The haves and have not chasm deepens. Headlines scream of autocratic leadership. Innocent people are slaughtered.
Consciousness is indeed being raised, but to what end? One of the tips utilized in '60s consciousness training groups was active listening, closely connected to dialogue. Self-centered human beings lack this basic skill. It's really a sin, as Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry preached on Pentecost Sunday at the National Cathedral. When individuals are absorbed in their own selves to the extent of dismissing the rest of God's creation, we're in a whole peck of trouble.
We dread what's next. Can it get any worse? Yes. For we know what powers and principalities, politics and persons can perpetrate when empire has its way. We know the lack of consciousness put in words from the cross. 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' Therein lies our hope. Christ Jesus raised more than consciousness when he went through hell's horrors and showed us the way through such a time as this.
With that hope and assurance, we can ask what is the new thing God surely is bringing about even as the sun tries to hide the shame and savagery humans have wrought. Who do you need to look at with love and welcome as a sibling in Christ? Where is a dialogue waiting to happen to dig out the systemic injustice and forge a new path for Jesus sake? He'll be there. "Where two or three are gathered in his name..." he promised. Lord God, you promised.