2016 has been a year of triumphs and disappointments. The long political season and outcome of this year’s election has only heightened the anger, vitriol, and de-humanization that we experience in our online or offline communities. The division that is exposed in our shared humanity is the biggest disappointment. So is the violence and the lack of compassion for those who are fleeing violent regimes.
What to do when there is massive disappointment, disillusionment, or despair? Though there are no easy answers, I know deep down inside that the only sense of peace that is to come in 2017 needs to be something that I am actively a part to help create–to do my part in 2017.
Mindfulness, in all its benefits, should be a practice that ultimately leads to action for the sake of others, not just the self. Some criticize mindfulness practice as a self-centered, navel-gazing, and naive new age-y fad. This criticism is warranted as some of those who espouse mindfulness do so out of a sense of self-righteousness and shroud their own frailties under a veil of superior enlightenment.
As a Christian practicing mindfulness, the exact opposite should be true. The prophet Isaiah prophecies about the ONE who was to come, who ultimately came as a baby in a manger, whose family fled another violent regime to establish His kingdom on earth. The ONE came to proclaim the gospel for the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The goal for the Christian practicing mindfulness is to “taste and see” that the Lord is good and to find refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8). From Him do we draw our strength to do good and proclaim freedom for the captives.
In 2017, let’s not forget those who are in captivity to the darkness of the world, who have not tasted and seen that God is good, and to use our mindfulness practice as a source of strength for the work–to draw from the well of God’s almighty goodness and to step into unknown territory.
May we step out in faith on behalf of those who are captive to the violence and captivity that our world’s powers succumb to over and over again. For our struggle is not in flesh and blood, but against the rulers…against the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). May we claim God’s Holy peace as followers in His triumph and His alone.
Let His triumph lead us in 2017 to good works that God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).