October 5, 2017
“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands”. Anne Frank
Please take four minutes to watch this music video. “Hands” was created as a tribute after the mass killing that happened in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. A deranged man entered a gay nightclub and shot 107 people–49 dead and 58 more wounded. We were left wondering why.
“Hands” – A Song for Orlando (Lyric Video)
So, here we are again, on our knees, submitting at the altar of why. Just three days ago, this time in Las Vegas, we as a nation witnessed and suffered another senseless act of violence against humanity. More than 550 people shot down, 58 of them dead, while innocently attending an outdoor country music concert.
As a minister, during horrific times like this, I’m often asked, “How do we make sense of it?” Sadly, that’s not possible to answer, for me or anyone else. Because what happened in Las Vegas, and with so many other recent mass killings in the U.S., is that they are sense-less acts of violence. We do not, and cannot, make sense in our rational minds. That’s why we must make an effort to return to the Truth. We as humans are hard-wired to connect. We bleed the same blood. Our hearts beat the same rhythm. But some hearts are hell-bent on disconnection, causing the blood of human kinship to spurt with angry vengeance. How can we possibly make sense of that? I can, when I remember that how I respond is in my hands.
Today, I found myself gazing at the various Celtic crosses I have in my home office. The symbol brings me a measure of peace, and reminds me of what the Celts might have been thinking when they placed a circle around the intersection of the traditional Christian cross.
To me, the Christian cross is a symbol of connection. The Celtic cross is a symbol of responsibility. With connection and responsibility, inner peace can be restored. As we all know, peace begins within. Here’s how the Celtic cross brings me inner peace in the midst of chaos and confusion.
With the traditional Christian cross, the vertical line reminds us of the Heavenly Father energy, often viewed to be above. I was taught as a child in Sunday school that meant God descended into man. As an adult, it became clear to me, for the cross to be whole, we must also honor the Earthly Mother energy. Creation cannot happen without the two coming together as one. So, as I see it, their beams of light, from above and below, merge in the heart. It there that we birth The Beloved I Am. By that I mean my god-self. The indwelling Christ in me. The eternal sacred flame inside every heart.
The cross also reveals a horizontal line, emanating out of the heart to both arms and all the way to our hands. Remember the old spiritual, “He’s got the whole world in his hands?” That’s a truth. The cross demonstrates that when we are connected, Above and Below, and, we feel it in our hearts, what unfolds is all in our hands. Our human hands. Yours and mine. Our country’s hands. And, most timely, in the hands of our leaders.
At some point in history, the Celts decided to place a circle around the intersection of the two lines. What were they showing us? Here’s my take. We must honor that which is greater than we are, regardless of what we call it. God, Creator, Higher Power, Life Itself. That energy isn’t just above, it’s also below. We must remember that when opposition comes into conscious and loving contact, there will be an outcome. When that outcome is deemed good, it’s easy to sing the praises of the Universe. But when that connection is considered bad, tainted by hate and fear and senseless acts of violence, it’s way too easy to make a fist and mutter WTF. What follows is often confusion, sadness and downright despair. I speak from experience, especially the past few days. Until I shifted my thinking while gazing at the Celtic cross. (Notice I didn’t say changed my thinking. I said shifted my thinking.) The shift was remembering that I could react or respond. My response is a simple spiritual practice I learned years ago in a weekend workshop called On Course.
Every face I see is the face of God.
Every voice I hear is the voice of God.
Ask yourself, in the aftermath of the worse mass killing in modern history, what is being asking of me? What would a loving father say or do? What would a nurturing mother say or do? What do I say and what do I do? It’s all in my hands, your hands, our hands. Let’s connect and rise to the beauty of our birthright, and then share it. Because we do have the whole world in our hands. As Anne Frank said, “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
I ask, under this glorious Harvest Moon, what action might you take that will affirm your core beliefs, while addressing the strife of modern culture? A phone call or email to an elected official? A donation to a charity that shares your beliefs? A simple prayer? Affirm that We Are All One, and that we are all in this together. Please!!!