Do you believe that mere mortals can achieve great things?
I remember when I was a young child and would watch others and be fascinated by what they did. To me, much of what adults did was mysterious and mythical. Yet through time, I began to learn and grow and gain the abilities that gave me such awe when I was a child. Now other things put me in that same state of awe. The thing that brings me to that place most often is the power that all people have to do great things. Given the right time and place, we all have the potential to do great and wonderful things and rise beyond ourselves.
While I am the first to remind us of the broken state of humanity, there is within each of us a great compassion and desire to do the right thing. We can see some of these great things when we take the difficult path of doing what is right over what is easy. Although, I also believe that we have an essential need to be connected and help those who cannot help themselves.
Even with this need, I know some who fight the urge to help others or try to legitimize reasons for not reaching out. I believe that it is the way we act outwardly that affects our inner self and connects us to the world around us. Through this connection, we begin to see and struggle with things greater than ourselves and begin to understand how God has his hand in all aspects of life.
As we hold compassion for each other, we begin to see parts of people we never knew existed. A whole new world is opened for us, and new people are brought into it. When Christ went to sit with the "outcast," he was ridiculed for it, but Jesus shows through his many parables how the "outcasts" are crucial in the witness and story of Christ. If we follow Christ's lead, we have a responsibility to our community and our world to give back.
Unfortunately, as humans, we are stuck within the realm of imperfection, and though we try to overcome it, our ignorance often gets in the way of the good that can be done. However, we still try, and maybe that is the most important thing we can do. I remember in one of my psychology classes the professor stood up and described the what he called the "spiral of self," where we begin to place ourselves before others, and soon we enter into a self-loathing and depression over our state of being. Once we break the "spiral of self," only then can we open ourselves up to who we really are.
I have to say, I find that very interesting and true. Whether it is an individual, a church, or even a denomination, when the focus is always inward, the individual or other body become stagnant, withdrawn, and disconnected from the world and the good it holds. It is hard to see the good because of the preoccupation with how everything impacts you and your life. By opening up to the world, you can begin to see the awe and wonder that is there.
To be in the perfect state of awe is probably the most wonderful place to be in this world. Being struck by the awesome power that surrounds us is incredible. As the leaves change and the fall colors come to their fullness, I am forever amazed at how life is ever changing and powerful. When we look beyond ourselves we can open up this potential and start to see this power more fully.
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Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen