It’s too easy to ask ourselves “why am I here?” or “what is my purpose?” and keep asking similar questions until we discover some passion, some purpose sufficiently grand, some place, time, or set of circumstances that are just right so we can get into the phone booth and put on our super suit. We’ll know when the time is right, won’t we?
I was thinking about this today as I was reading an autobiography of Pope John Paul II and reflecting on my own vocation. Many thoughts passed through my mind as to how we could be a massive “Force” in the world. What if we created a list of the current struggles in the world and just tried to help them one by one? Would we forget some? Would our list ever empty or would we have a lifetime supply? And how would we prioritize? It’s not impossible, I just wonder if our energy could be better spent. We could be a massive Force in the world without Forcing ourselves.
In the end, it comes down to this, “we need Jedi”. Forget about whether it is a philosophy or religion or whether our standards align to create the best, most able Jedi. With the state of the world as it is, I don't believe that it is prudent to waste our time on such debates.
We are increasingly divided and debating, our environment is reaping the consequences of our commission and permission and we are living in a world where genuine and honest connection with one another is hard to come by. The history of how this came to be isn’t as important as what we can do to deal with this and other issues.
We need Jedi. It may be that you have come here because you needed a space like The Temple. A space of belonging, exploration, learning and authenticity. Thank you. But the Hero’s Journey is not just about any one of us. Campbell says that the Hero sacrifices himself to bring back the boon for the rest of the world. The Hero’s Journey is about the rest of the world.
When one of the Lawyers challenged Jesus with a question “who is my neighbor?”, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. Some of us may be tempted to think “the rest of the world” is too big, that we can’t be a massive Force. No, not by ourselves we can’t. In fact, trying to be so will only guarantee burnout. It doesn’t mean we cannot be a Force.
To help us all in this, I’d like to bring us back to what it says on our front page.
In the Force, and in the inherent worth of all life within it.
In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.
In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.
In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.
In the ethic of reciprocity, and how moral concepts are not absolute but vary by culture, religion and over time.
In the positive influence of spiritual growth and awareness on society.
In the importance of freedom of conscience and self-determination within religious, political and other structures.
In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association and expression.”
The above can have an actionable component. We don’t have to agree on the “how”, but maybe we can agree that we all have the tools to put our statement of faith into practice. In the morning we can begin by asking ourselves:
How are we demonstrating our belief in the worth of all life?
How are we demonstrating our belief in the sanctity of the human person?
How are we ensuring that our laws are grounded in and compassion and not fear and prejudice?
How are we guarding against discrimination?
How are we demonstrating reciprocity and guarding against our own moral absolutism?
How are we showing by example the positive influence of spiritual growth and development?
How are we creating spaces of freedom?
Rather than list ways in which we could all do this and thereby limiting our creativity and individuality, I encourage us all to simply keep the questions in the front of our mind. We don’t have to wait for an answer in order to get to work or school or another place. In fact in asking these questions we can imagine that we are “priming” ourselves to be instruments of the Force throughout the day. We can daily remind ourselves that we are not only consequences of the Force, but conduits of it is well.
We need Jedi, but being one doesn’t have to be complicated, or arduous or in any way “big”. Being a Jedi means putting one foot in front of the other on this journey, making ripples in little ways day by day. If you are here, welcome, thank you. We have been waiting for you.
May the Force Be With You All
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