Thursday, May 19, 2016

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

One of my professors in college compared me to another student once: "She is pragmatic, but, Val, you are a dreamer."

That statement makes more sense to me now than it did when I was 22, and I hope that my understanding of what it means to be an idealist only continues to unfold.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Zootopia. It is the story of a young rabbit, Judy Hopps, living on her family farm, who dreams of being a police officer in the big city of Zootopia.

She, too, is an idealistic gal, and without giving the movie away, Judy is able to see past differences and work through difficulties to create a happy ending. (Surprise!)

Maybe that is why I love Disney movies so much - always a happy ending. But, compared to other children's movies, the message was particularly spot-on; I loved it. And, in addition to seeing the movie, I also listened to a lecture on "staying at the table" in community. The lecture was based on a great piece that Parker Palmer wrote about community by the same name.

He writes about different examples of community found in Scripture: the Garden of Eden, the New Jerusalem, and the Last Supper. He points out that Eden and the Holy City are outside history, and looks to the Last Supper to understand how Jesus sees past differences and works through difficulties:

And how did Jesus manage to stay at the table? What was his “secret”? It was the same “secret” that Jesus taught throughout his ministry – put ultimate reliance not on yourself or on others but on God alone. Jesus was not shocked or undone by the dissolution of community that he saw at the Last Supper. He knew human nature, he knew our weakness, and the disciples only demonstrated what he already knew. But he knew something more. He knew that there is a God who is with us more fully than we are with each other, a God who will keep us together if we will only place our trust in God and not in our own togetherness.

Between seeing the movie and reading Palmer's words, my idealism enjoyed great nourishment. The quote reminds me that it isn't about specific people - we don't choose who's in and who's out; community is union with all life, even the messy parts. It is our joint relationship with and in God that creates true community. Are we willing to join and stay together to create the dream?

Let us walk in the holy presence.