A field beyond

The snow is falling quickly here, and sideways. It’s a nice occasion to stop and slow down. I’m home from work (hooray for snow days!) and my husband is working from home. This is how life should be: slow, with two or three cups of coffee per person, and people alone together.

There has been so much on my mind. Since last writing, I am feeling less stuck. I am worrying less about if I’m seeing and hearing God. That feeling comes in waves. But what’s been stuck in my mind is the delicate balance of knowing that God is both imminent and transcendent. Meaning: God needs me to care about the daily, mundane nonsense – the nitty-gritty, the politics, etc; God also needs me to care about the greater good, the long-term vision, the kingdom.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.


That field is the kingdom of God; a beloved community if God is not a part of your vision and vocabulary. I can’t help but feel that I can see that field, a vision of wholeness and holiness, even though there’s a lot obscuring it. John Lewis gave an interview for the podcast On Being, and one of the things he discusses is that those in the Civil Rights Movement had a vision of a beloved community. When they worked toward their goals, it was on the level of the imminent (politics, community-building, etc); the goal, however, was always transcendent.  They behaved like it already existed; the worked like the kingdom had already come.

What is our vision for ourselves? It feels so limited, if I look at Twitter or Facebook or the news. It’s pieces of legislation; it’s political victories and defeats. That is certainly important, but it’s not enough, is it?

John Lewis also spoke of the immense inner work that activists underwent, and it strikes me that this is something most of us miss. The revolution is two-fold: inner and outer. The revolution can only be sustained if we can sustain ourselves. The world is broken because it is made up of broken people. We need to address both levels of brokenness.

Focusing on this inner revolution has helped me feel less stuck. What does the beloved community look like, in my own small world? I think it has less advertising, less crappy TV, less mindless surfing of social media. Fewer snap judgments. It has smaller churches and more coffee hours; dinners that we make together. It has hours set aside for games, and hours set aside for volunteering, and hours set aside for consuming art. It supports local businesses, and does not judge when we simply must get to Walmart because our wallets or our time demands it. It resists duality, over and over and over again. It resists duality when it comes from the Right; it resists duality when it comes from the Left.

When I stop getting worked up into a rage, and I close my eyes to everything around me, I can feel my heart open up, into a wide field where my soul can lie down in the grass. Now to actually build that community … 


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