My colleague Rev. Cameron Trimble recently wrote a column about the Khasi people in Northeast India. The region is one of the wettest in the world. It is also home to around 9000 Unitarians mostly in villages in the remote hills of the region. The Khasi people having been living with the extreme rainfall for many generations, rainfall that can exceed 40 feet per year. Most of the region is without roads, and during the monsoons the Khasi have to cross raging streams without the benefit of constructed bridges. Any effort to construct a bridge was often thwarted by the torrential power of the water.
The Khasi are surrounded by rubber trees. So, the ancient Khasi people did the most amazing thing: they trained aerial roots over many years to build living tree bridges which cross these rivers by spanning from tree to tree.
What if we could see ourselves as being living trees that are spanning over these turbulent times to the other side of a society grounded in the values of compassion, unity and tolerance? What if we see our lives as taking the best of the dream of hope that President Obama started and carrying it over the raging rivers of racism, poverty and narcissism? Are we becoming a living bridge to a new era?
Every great transformation in human history has been preceded by a time of suffering and malice; the Dark Ages gave way to the Renaissance; the Depression and World Wars gave way to the Civil Rights Era. I believe we are crossing the same turbulent times now on our way to a new emergence in our values and our actions.
Most people are decent human beings. Most communities take care of their own. I invite you to imagine that you, your friends, your families and your communities, including this congregation as living bridges to a new day.
At least it beats the alternative.
Yours always, Rev. John