A Hermeneutic of Quintessence
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Everything is awesome.
Leave it to the Lego movie to produce an earworm with some actual truthiness to it. There is something profoundly theological about that notion: everything is awesome.
The Psalmist was a little more poetic about it – but either way, something fundamental is articulated when we begin to look at the world through eyes of appreciation.
Here is how she put it in the 8th Psalm:
“O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals[a] that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,[b]
and crowned them with glory and honor.”
Everything is awesome!
Everyone is awesome.
What happens when we orient ourselves towards the beauty and goodness inherent in all things and all people? What if we shifted out of a hermeneutic of suspicion, an attitude that someone has to prove their worth to us before we accept their goodness, to a hermeneutic of quintessence – an acceptance that at our core, we are good?
Remember when our former president referred blanketly to an entire race of people as bad hombres? as an entire continent as a “blank-hole” country? another entire country and their refugees as murderers, drug-dealers and rapists?
It sickened me. Who wants to be that way? Who benefits when we dismiss others as ugly and evil before we even know a thing about them? This is what leads to separating children from their parents and locking them in cages and not caring a whit if, years later, we still have no capacity to reunite them with their moms and dads.
Seeing each person as precious, as a child of God, as beloved – it shifts everything. It is in that spirit that I learned as a child the story of Lady Liberty. “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There was an inherent acceptance that people were essentially, quintessentially, good and decent. That’s the world I want to live in – don’t you?
Paying someone a compliment, a simple task that we can do every day, not only changes their mood for the better, it changes ours, too.
Greeting a stranger in the grocery store with a smile brightens their mood and yours.
And it begins with a fundamental belief that there is goodness in all that we see and in those whom we meet.
Everything is awesome.
When I look at the heavens….
Choose pathways of love and light.
Choose to orient towards joy and delight. See in all the quintessential goodness endowed to them by the hand of the Creator who made all people in their image. It is they whom we encounter every day on this, our journey Into the Mystic.