There’s a word that I’ve been using, lately, in my meditation and prayer to guide me in living faithfully. It’s not a new word to spring forth from my mouth, but I’m giving it some extra attention these days. It is: “wholeness.”
I think of wholeness as a state of being complete, of “roundness,” of “full intention” and as close to perfection as possible.
I think of wholeness as a circle. The shape that is complete when its two ends meet, that creates a container, of sorts, that is fluid and can move with some grace (think of a ball rolling down a hill).
Isaiah knew about circles and in proclaiming God’s omnipotence, painted this picture:
"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to live in;
who brings princes to naught,
and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing."
(Isaiah 40: 22-24)
The circle, a symbol of wholeness and completeness, is regarded by many cultures and religions as sacred:
“The Circle Christian Symbol represents eternity. The circle symbolizes eternity as it has no beginning or end. Because of this many early Christians believed that there was something divine in circles. Early astronomy and astrology was connected to the divine for most medieval scholars, the circular shape of the sun, moon and the planets were related to God's act of Creation.
To the Native North American Indians, the circle is the sun, the moon and her children... man and woman. Consider the circle symbol meaning in conjunction with the Native medicine wheels. The medicine wheel gives the sense of the integration of spirit and man, combined for the purpose of greater spiritual understanding and evolution.
Circles were protective emblems to the Celtic mind. Circles were often drawn as protective boundaries, not to be crossed by enemy or evil forces.
In Chinese symbology, the circle expresses the shape of heaven, with earth signified by a square. When we see a square inside a circle in Chinese art, it represents the union between heaven and earth. The deeply significant yin yang symbol is circular, encompassing the whole of duality with a unified balance.”
And so, I’ve been looking for circles in my daily walk and considering how it is that I contribute to healing, restoration and reconciliation to create wholeness in the world. It’s kind of like playing “I Spy,” walking through my day with a particular item that I am seeking in every setting or context that I enter, looking for circles- signs of wholeness- and looking for brokenness- and how I might be part of restoration.
When God created the earth and all that is… it was complete in six days. Sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, rivers, oceans, mountains, sea creatures, insects, birds, and animals of the desert, alps, prairie and forest. It was good. It was better than good, it was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God put humankind in charge of caring for it all. (Genesis 1:28 and 2:15). And, because God also gave us free will and we used it in a way that separated us from God, we were both agents and victims of the first brokenness- sin. Since then, God’s mission has been to restore that wholeness, and we, God’s people, even in our frailness and flawed-ness, have been called in our faithfulness to assist in that restoration. Does God need our help? Probably not. But it is the call of the faithful, the way that we love God, to participate in this work.
Where is the brokenness in the small sphere of your daily world?
And how might you be an agent of reconciliation?
I speak to people everyday who are despairing about the current state of affairs- not just in our country, but in the world over. As I ran on the treadmill at the gym this morning and watched the news, I learned that North Korea should have a nuculear weapon that could destroy us in just a few weeks, that our transgendered brothers and sisters were to be banned from service in the military, that healthcare for millions of Americans was in danger of being taken away and that an infant in England was losing his life over regulations that prohibited international experimental trials to address his medical issues. Oh, and the Dow was up. Way up. Go figure. This is a broken world, friends. You can find it in spades by turning on the tv. You can find it in listening to your neighbors whose children are depressed and anxious, by counting the number of opioid deaths in your municipality by the dozen each week, and by watching food banks and clothing banks and all sorts of assistance programs strain to keep up with the demand for assistance.
It can be overwhelming.
And,yet, in the words of St. Paul, “… we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16)
It is our inner nature, our grace filled souls, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that will give us what we need to be agents of reconciliation, wholeness and peace.
Look for the circles that you can make.
Pick up the broken bits, beginning right where you are, (perhaps even with yourself) and see how wholeness and healing can come about.
It is good and holy work, circle making.