What If 2020 Is The Year We've Been Waiting For?

I don't know about you, but I've caught myself more than a few times over the past several weeks wishing that this year was over.  At this point, I would love nothing more than to put 2020 in the rear view mirror, and drive away as fast as I can.  

Let me put it bluntly.  2020 has been a dumpster fire.  

I know what some of you are going to say, so let me just head you off at the pass there friend...  You want to tell me, "Now Leon, there have been other bad years, don't get all melodramatic."  

Okay, okay... but let me just put this out there...  

In addition to a global pandemic, election nonsense, fires, floods, riots, and much, much more, 2020 has thrown us another curveball: zombie storms.    

Seriously, I  just read that there's a "zombie storm" out in the Atlantic Ocean--a hurricane that had all but dissipated only to regain strength and come back to life, confounding meteorologists.  What the heck, man?  A zombie storm?  

With everything that has been happening, and the news not looking good for the immediate future, why wouldn't we want this year to be over as soon as possible?  

And listen, I get that the simple advancing of a clock on midnight of December 31st isn't some kind of miraculous moment, but still... it just might feel like a fresh start, and God knows we could use one, right?  

But what if we weren't meant to just speed forward out of this year, hoping beyond hope that we can leave it behind and all of the chaos and destruction it contained?  What if... and this might surprise you... What if 2020 was the year that we needed?  

I read this amazing poem the other day by Leslie Dwight entitled, "What If 2020 Wasn't Cancelled?" It spoke to me through the haze of my unrequited longing for this year to be over, sooner rather than later.  Here it is: 
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?⁣
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?⁣
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.⁣
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.⁣
A year we finally accept the need for change.⁣
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of⁣
pushing each other further apart.⁣

2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather⁣
the most important year of them all.”⁣

When I read that, I had to sit and think about it for awhile.  

It is so very tempting for us to long for a better tomorrow, but it's even more tempting to do everything we can to make that tomorrow look a lot like the idealized past that can't be reclaimed.  

This is not what God wants for us.  God longs for us to be the people that we are meant to be, to live into our truest and best selves.  To do better.  To be better. 

And further, God's purposes are always moving us ever closer toward true justice, mercy, love, peace and hope---a world permeated with God's shalom, the full reality of the kingdom God on earth.  

Which means that we are needed here, and now in this moment.  And not "needed" in the sense that God needs us to fulfill God's purposes, but that God desires us to do so, and at some level we desire it too, more than we are able to articulate.  

Fr. Thomas Keating once wrote: 
The kingdom, as Paul implies, is Christ crucified which is neither an escape to a world of virtue without difficulty or deliverance of a miraculous kind from our problems but in living with them with God and redeeming the world.  
What if this is the year that we have been waiting for?  What if this moment is the moment we have been longing for in the deepest, quietest, truest parts of ourselves?  A year, a moment when we get to become the people we have dreamed we could be. 

A moment when the presence of God is revealed around us, through us and within us to a world that is groaning for restoration.  

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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