Will the circle be unbroken
By and by Lord, by and by
There's a better home awaiting
In the sky Lord, in the sky.

Is there a better home awaiting us in the sky? Under our feet? In some alternate dimension we can’t comprehend? There has always been this debate — is heaven a place out there, outside of ourselves and our world, to which we aspire to journey one day? Or is it a place we try to create, however imperfectly, here in this time, on this earth? I believe and would say, as have many others, that I cannot know about the reality of the former, but I can do and be much to create the latter. And the people I most admire, whether they believed in the reality of a heaven in the sky or not, did everything they could to create aspects of it here on earth. Jesus of Nazareth, whether he was the Son of God or simply an illiterate, charismatic preacher, proclaimed the injustice of the Roman Empire and the raising up of the poor, the disregarded, the persecuted. 

In our world, how do we proclaim this as well? How do we proclaim the injustice of our American Empire? How do we proclaim the raising up of the marginalized? By this, I do not mean “helping those who can’t help themselves”. I mean creating spaces for all people to advocate for their own humanity. It is not my role as a white, able-bodied, heterosexual man to speak for Black men who have been incarcerated and Latinx families who are held in detention camps. Instead, how do I help them open spaces to speak for themselves? How do I clear the way and step aside? 

It is the role of each of us to create an unbroken circle between our vision of true justice and peace and the actual spaces we inhabit and move through each day. How do we better align our world with justice and peace? And since we can only build a new reality through a multitude of tiny steps, how do we better align our local communities, our families, and most especially ourselves? How do we better create an unbroken circle between ourselves and our vision of justice and peace — a direct connection between what we dream and what we live? 

In this time of COVID, the injustice and turmoil of this world is laid even more plain to us than it was before. Our own turmoil and insecurities are ever more apparent as we sequester ourselves inside and physically away from others. So the need for transformation to a different way of being has become clear, for both our world and our selves. The unbroken circle — between intention and impact, between me and my neighbor, between one human community and another, between the human community and the rest of the natural world — is the key to that transformation. 

Will the circle be unbroken
By and by Lord, by and by
We can make home here within us
If we know why Lord, we know why.

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2 thoughts on “The unbroken circle

  1. Your Grandpa Theder always said this to all: “Life is what you make it…heaven or hell.” All of us lived that. In other words, it is your job to make life a good place. We three tried. I know that you, Jim, are succeeding. Love,


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