Every system on this planet is currently under evaluation by humanity. Every rock is being overturned. Every ruler questioned. Especially those who require unquestionable authority. The pandemic has further made this so, but the process had begun long before that.
The entire planet is in a state of great uncovery. The very deepest meaning of the word apocalypse is to uncover, to reveal. This is where we are. And there is good news here. The world has changed. No human-rights issue is too small to be spoken of somewhere on this planet. No ecological or animal-rights issue is too small to be seen by at least some as deserving of protection. Even ants have rights. The injustice of our age is that many people still do not.
Not all the battles have been fought or won, or perhaps even envisioned yet. But the awareness of the right to thrive has been awakened in humanity. In only the past few hundred years, the entire Earth has shifted in its paradigm of human dignity toward equality. That’s the conflict we see.
And while the struggle is still new, and most imbalances are yet to be corrected, we have accomplished so much. But these things take their time, and progress occurs in rarely observed increments. Have faith. Remain strong. Put your support toward those who are doing the good work of the future rather than continuing to do battle with the old ways of the past. Seek forward roads of truth and reconciliation. Rather than burying the past, or fighting with it, bring it into the light. Allow the light to do its job. We will get so much more out of it if we do.
How many people are showing their terror now at the state of the world and what it has become? But what has it become exactly? I know it’s not a popular view, but this apotheosis of rage is indicative of better news than one might think. Cornered dogs bark the loudest. A dying enemy uses all of its remaining artillery in a last-ditch effort at continued hope for success, if not revenge for its despair at knowing its fate, at seeing the hour of its demise. As the world expands, those who enjoyed success at the expense of the suffering and contraction of others is now painfully discovering they need to rethink their strategy in this changing world.
Some would prefer to believe that love is contracting in our human society. That somehow darkness is winning. But darkness is not a thing of its own. It is merely the absence of light. We look at public figures who are able to speak hate and separation of peoples to cheering throngs and wonder, how could such things occur in an enlightening society? I tell you that it is exactly because society is on a curve of justice that these darker voices not only have a podium, but an audience. Those who still cling to the old energy are finally seeing themselves represented by those who are as afraid of the enlightening world as they are. Their rage is not directed at what really terrifies them, however. It is directed at the wind. But to rage against the wind is tantamount to peeing in it. They know not what they do.
I am not making a political statement here, for the record. Politics is not the issue. Politics is the petri dish in which our much larger issues are playing out. They, themselves, are not the issue. They are the convenient expression of it. Because the reality is, the light is winning. Love has a foothold on this Earth, and its systems are recalibrating as a result of it.
Justice is gradually (painfully so) increasing on this planet. Like it or not. Believe it or not. Accept it or not. Equality has a voice in our world today, getting slowly louder and more confident. The voice of justice is growing strident. It does not exist everywhere, but it exists. The relatively small islands of compassion on the planet Earth are day by day, argument by argument, whistleblower by whistleblower, becoming continents.
The internet has helped to ensure the continuation of conversations both compassionate as well as hateful. But putting the loudest aside, which ones are winning? The ones that are most resonant with love.
Justice is not seen everywhere, but it begins with us if nowhere else. And from there, we may build upon it. Equality, justice and compassion are all words that emerge of the same directive: love. With love, equality is normal. With love, justice is a no-brainer. With love, compassion has the opportunity to do its best work yet, if only we cease to restrain it. It is less about the actions we should be taking than it is about the actions we should stop. The work is easier than we have imagined and yet requires us to let go of our fears. We are invited to work smarter, not harder. We are invited to let go. To release. Even the most loving and well-intentioned, even justice workers themselves, participate unwittingly in old ways of thinking and reacting that can now be let go. We must achieve our goals by smarter methods. We must rest from the weary work of stemming the tide of progress.
But this rest is not passive. It encourages us to help the world by leaning into love, to invite embracing and risk opening our arms to illustrate it. To insist that all are are welcome, and build bridges to prove it. To even scream love if we must.
Make an earthquake of your presence. And where we see the light is dying, we must thrust ourselves headlong toward it. Not to fight it, but to project love at it. That which is most afraid in the world knows exactly what to do when faced with an enemy ready to attack. But it is confused by a foe that comes with open arms.
We are slowly starting to get it. But these things take time. Justice is a learning curve about which we must remain patient, faithful and helpful to the cause. Where we see injustice, we must not let it stand. Or else our last breath will be for naught but a rage against the light inside of us we never knew, never fostered and never used in the service of leaving this world better than we found it.
Wil Darcangelo, M.Div., is the minister at First Parish UU Church of Fitchburg and of First Church of Christ Unitarian in Lancaster. He is the producer of The UU Virtual Church of Fitchburg and Lancaster on YouTube and host of the Our Common Dharma podcast series. Email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @wildarcangelo. His blog, Hopeful Thinking, can be found at www.hopefulthinkingworld.blogspot.com.