Friday, March 6, 2020

The Walls of Life

Dear Friends,

Recently I saw a world map reflecting the spread of the coronavirus from its source in Wuhan, China. Arrows connected Wuhan with places on every continent. The coronavirus does not respect walls.

Many other aspects of life do not respect walls either. Have you ever noticed how the yearning for justice and peace, the love between people, the tender embrace of God for people and all of creation appear all over the world, without apparent interaction causing them? Walls do not bar the good and holy, nor the misery of mind, heart and body that people inflict on one another. Walls seem powerful. But as a graffiti message on the Berlin Wall proclaimed, “Sooner or later, all walls come down.”

You and I deal daily with external demeaning walls and painful inner walls. We are the sisters and brothers of Rahab, whose story is told in Joshua 6. She harbored the messengers of Joshua who had been sent to reconnoiter the city so that the Israelites could overcome Jericho. For her hospitality, Rahab and her kin were saved. Because of her hospitality, the walls of Jericho fell. Walls can come down when people are gracious to one another.

The writer Lauree Hersch Meyer invites us to “choose your wall. Wailing wall, graffiti wall, mural wall, Berlin wall, great wall of China [wall at our southern border]. Walls to paint, lean against in the sun, play ball with, cuddle into for shelter from wind…wall between chaos and creation…between fear and energy, numbness and hope, lethargy and imagination, death and life. Living walls that honor memory and grief. Walls that hold in; walls that keep out.

“Walls invisible and visible, walls recognized and hidden, walls acknowledged and denied. Walls that define, invite, declare positions and limits, afford place and safety.” If you have to have a wall, and many of us do, choose one that adds to the value of life.

Think about the walls you have come up against or constructed in life. Have they provided safety, honored the Spirit and celebrated life? Stand before the walls of the tomb that held the dead body of Jesus. Those walls could not withstand the life of God within.

In this season of Lent, let’s choose the walls we wish to climb over or pull down, retain or not. Let’s choose the partners with whom to tear down destructive political, immoral walls. In fact, we cannot deal with threatening walls by ourselves. We need one another.

~Sister Joan Sobala

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