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  • Reverend James Squire

Ripple And A Current

One of the things that recent history taught us is that we have had to live constantly in the “now” as there have been attacks on our fragile democracy. Our desires have focused on the immediate such as the election for Senate between Warner and Warnock in Georgia. There is all that business that Congress has to finish during the month of December. Each party has their efforts focused there. We have come down rather hard on the importance of the “now.” We have forgotten about the other side of the coin of the “now” which is a focus on our future and our destiny. The existentialist teaches us that life is a two-edged sword. It is a paradox meaning you have to look to the now and the future all at the same time. That’s life and that’s faith as we exist through faith and doubt with the season of Advent for the Christian community before us. This is an important lesson to learn.

One of the things that I have attempted to understand is what makes our economy and Stock Market do what it does. This includes the reality of inflation and that 63% of our citizens live paycheck to paycheck. I am concerned when viewing the long lines and early shoppers on Black Friday where 166 million people spent 8.9 billion dollars. They have certainly focused on the importance of the “now” but have they postponed thinking about the future when the credit card bill arrives? Like that commercial of years ago we hear that phrase “pay me now or pay me later.” Studying our economy and the stock market taught me that I didn’t even know what I didn’t know, but there was one thing that seemed very important. The Stock Market pays attention to what is happening in the “now” but it is “forward looking” as well.

I have written about Victor Frankl and his development of a form of therapy called logotherapy which I incorporate into my own counseling of others. He examined the attributes of the survivors of the concentration camp of Auschwitz. He himself was a survivor. What he discovered was that there were two characteristics that the survivors possessed. They had a clear idea of their identity and their ability to know that in the now. But equally, if not more so, they had a clear sense of their destiny to get out of the camp.

It strikes me that we have to live both in the now and in the future. In the Christian community there is no better example than the season of Advent where we prepare daily in the now for the destiny of the arrival of the Christ Child in our hearts in the future as our destiny.

One can’t underscore the importance of now and destiny all at the same time in this season and in life. We live in a paradox!

There is a famous quotation by Robert Kennedy who offered courageous advice to South African citizens during apartheid.

He said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief of hope and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

We are each ripples in the now knowing that we can forge a current in our national and international life as a citizen of the world.

It seems to me that all things point to us being and doing both without forgetting the importance of either. That is what teaches us how to form grit in our human nature, the ways of the economy, and the message of the season of Advent. We are taught this every day. We are a ripple and a current!

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